Today, I want to continue talking with you about the matter of Respect — particularly respect for others.
We have talked about why and how we ought to show respect for God as well as why and how we ought to show respect for those whom God has placed in authority positions in our lives — including, parents, pastors, teachers, and law enforcement officials.
The Bible tells us in First Peter 2:17, “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” If you are not sure about what it means to honor and respect others, there’s an easy way to figure it out: simply think about how you want to be treated, and determine to treat everyone else that way. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
If you want someone to do something for you, think about how you can do the same thing or something similar for someone else. If you want others to treat you kindly, treat others kindly. If you want others to be willing to help you in a time of need, then be willing to help others in their time of need. If you have this kind of attitude, you will show that you respect, honor, and value others — your family members, your classmates, and random strangers you meet. When we respect and value others, we also honor God because all people are made in the image of God.
Now, sometimes, showing respect to others is a one-way street. You may not always be reciprocated with the same kind of respect that you have shown to other people. Others may still mistreat you even if you have done them no wrong. Look at how the people of Jesus’ day treated Him. All Christ did was heal the sick, raise the dead, feed the hungry, and preach the good news of the Kingdom of God. Yet, he was arrested, betrayed, lied on, beaten, and crucified. What did He do about those who mistreated Him. He did not retaliate in kind. Rather, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” As a Christian, you will often be faced with situations where you must choose to do as Jesus Christ did and treat those who have mistreated you just like you would treat a friend.
Showing respect and honor for others will often mean putting yourself second or last. Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” These verses tell us that a Christian is one who puts others before himself, values others, and seeks to meet the needs of others. The Apostle Paul said, “I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many…”
That is the kind of attitude all of us should have. We ought to constantly be asking: What can I do to benefit others? What can I do to benefit my family? What can I do to benefit my community?
We will talk more on this matter of respect in our next episode.