The word respect means to ?honor? or ?value? someone or something. It literally means ?to place a great value or high price on something.? Today, we tend to place our values on our personal rights and the equality of man. However, biblical respect is far different, more about a perceived inequality in that we recognize that some things and some people are more important than we are.
As a noun, honor in the Bible means ?esteem, value, or great respect.? To honor someone is to value them highly or bestow value upon him.
Who should we Honor and Respect according to the Bible?
- Brothers (1 Peter 2: 17)
- The King, people in power (1 Peter 2: 17)
- Elders (1 Timothy 5:17)
- Preachers (1 Timothy 5:17)
- Employee?s (Ephesians 6:5-7)
- Employers (1Timothy 3:17)
- Parents (Exodus 20:12) That one made Gods top 10 list!
- Spouse (Hebrews 13:4; Ephesians 5: 23-33)
- At the end of the day, it is about respecting Everyone (1 Peter 2:17)
- Above all else, the ultimate Honor belongs to God (1 Chronicles 29:11; 1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 5:13)
Honoring others goes against our natural instinct. We want to make our name known and we want to be honored. How do we honor everyone? Well we can?t! It is only by walking in humility by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can esteem and honor everyone.
First, you have to see others as God sees them. They were created in God?s Image. God is seeking them and pursuing them. God Loves them as His child so we should see them that way as well. We should show them proper respect and honor because their souls are of much more value than all the wealth in the world. (Luke 10: 33-34)
Honor can also be translated into Love: ?Be devoted to one another in Love. Honor one another above yourselves.? Romans 12:10
?A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.? (John 13: 34-35)
If you can get to know someone enough to know their heart, you can see through the things they do or say based on their inner desires. Even if they handle things differently than you would. For me, the only way to respect other people is to be in an abiding relationship with Christ and allow Him to use you in the way he would have if He was here on earth.
You know they say that we spend 85% of our time thinking about ourselves and 15% of our time thinking about someone else? How do we stop thinking about ourselves and more of others?
We all know the story of the Red Sea when the Egyptians came after the Israelites once they left Egypt. God didn?t let them go through the easy path. Instead, he sent them to the Red Sea where they couldn?t escape except through His power. There is three different perspectives that you can view this event:
- Israelites: They were afraid that they were going to die. They didn?t trust God to get them through this situation. In fact, they thought it would be better to be back in slavery! (Exodus 14: 12) That was even before they saw the 10 miracles performed by God! They thought that yesterday was as good as it gets. However, that is the biggest lie that Satan constantly tries to convince us.
- God: He is in control. He is executing his perfect plan. He was putting a stop to the Egyptians once and for all by showing the whole world His almighty power. It was the Lord who ?hardened the heart of Pharaoh King of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.? (Exodus 14: 8)
- Moses: He was in the middle trying to translating God?s perspective to the Israelites! ?Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.? (Exodus 14: 13-14)
How was it that Moses had a different perspective then the rest? Moses was in a close, abiding relationship with God. He remembered Gods promises and knew that He always delivered. He just experienced the 10 miracles! He knew that big breakdowns always leads to big breakthroughs through God! He also knew who God was from past experiences. That is what the Bible is about. It is about learning about who God is and how to grow our relationship with Him.
God?s way is not our way. ?For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.? (Isaiah 55: 8-9)
So if His way is so much more than we can even imagine why do we think we can do it out of our own abilities and thoughts? It is about a relationship with Christ. It is about allowing the Holy Spirit to give us insight. He works through us to accomplish His work. How often are you truly listening to God?
We are not blessed just for ourselves and our gifts are not just for ourselves. God?s message to Abraham in Genesis 12 says, ?I am going to bless you so that you will be a blessings to all people.? He wasn?t blessed just to be blessed, it was to be a blessing to All People. How great would it would be to hear that everyone from now on will be blessed through you?
A few closing thoughts:
- Do your actions, words, work, performance, or even listening skills truly reflect who God is?
- Ultimately, it is not about honoring or respecting someone, it is about lovingthem like God loves them. When people come to me with a problem, my first reaction is to ask myself how Jesus would reply. Does my response reflect who Christ is or does it not?
- Don?t wait to be 100% fruitful to allow God to use you. Let God use you now! Know that you, as a tree, may not be fully grown, but your roots are planted in a relationship with God. That posture is what works best. (John 15:5)
- The consequence of not abiding in Christ is greater for other people than ourselves. In other words, the cost of not having an ongoing relationship with Christ is greater for other people than ourselves.
- Have you missed out on seeing God work through you because you have not talked or listened to God lately? He can?t use you if you are not open and are not listening.
- LOVE must help you abide in Christ. Just like when you have not talked to your spouse, kids, or family for a long time, you want to pursue them in a relationship; Christ is pursuing all of us.
My prayer is that we are all spending time daily to talk and listen to God. Allowing Him to work through us to bless others. The next time you are talking to someone that seems to make you uncomfortable ask yourself how you can respect that person like Christ would have. Then see what thoughts God gives you and what He can do through you. You may be surprised.