Respect...What Does It Really Mean for Today's Christian Woman?
- 2014 Jun 09
Have you ever heard someone say, “You need to respect me?” Or how about this one, “I deserve respect!” And lastly, “Respect is earned.” Have you ever said any of these words to someone? Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard them all and said a couple of them myself before. But I can honestly tell you, that when I heard the word “respect” for the first time as a teenage girl, I didn’t even know what it meant. Yet, it was demanded of me. Actually, I didn’t know the true definition, until I began truly growing closer to God. That’s when I discovered what it really meant, especially for a Christian woman.
Before I go any further with this, I need to pause to tell you that respect naturally means “to feel or show honor or esteem for; hold in high regard; to show consideration for, and showing dutiful regard” (according to Webster’s New World Dictionary). Now again, when I was a teenager, I didn’t know what my mom was talking about when she told me, “You need to respect me!” However, as I got older, I started asking God what does this really mean? And the Holy Spirit led me to research it. The Scripture tells us in Leviticus 19: 3, “Each of you must show respect for your mother and father…”
Also Ephesians 6:1-3, “Children, obey your parents, because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. ‘Honor your father and mother.’ This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: If you honor your father and mother, ‘you will live a long life, full of blessing.’” Now…what does this mean to you? Really think about this. Have you ever heard these Scriptures before as it relates to you and your parents?
Once I read and understood this, I realized that I needed to change the way I talked to them and respect my parents. BUT…I didn’t get this until I was in my late twenties with the Lord’s help. Granted, it may have taken me awhile and caused a lot of pain and heartache to my parents through the years, but as an adult woman, I got it! Praise the Lord! And since then, I’ve learned to treasure them and hold them in high esteem and honor…which is respect.
The word of God has a way of doing that. If we want it, it can really change our lives for the better. I want to say here that respect goes way deeper than just having respect for our parents. God deserves respect. He deserves all honor and praise. He is God. Amen! When Moses was standing near the burning bush, God told him, “Do not come any closer…take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5 - NLT). God is holy and He should be reverenced (honored). We are to respect His presence. And when we worship Him for who He is and obey His word, we’re ultimately showing great honor, reverence and respect to the Most High God. And He loves it!
Who doesn’t want respect? We all do, to some extent. BUT…we can’t demand it. Jesus didn’t do it, so why should we? I’ve learned over the years that you can’t make people respect you. And point of fact…a lot of people don’t even know the true meaning of the word, especially the spiritual context. So in that case, they surely won’t know how to act it out. That’s why as Christians, we have to understand that respect is earned and we need to show it, live it out, and sometimes explain it.
I had to do that with my teenage son. One day, I told him, “You need to respect me. You need to show some respect.” Now, after the words came out of my mouth one day, I remembered when my mom told me that and I didn’t know what she really meant. And I grew up totally rebellious, not only disrespecting her, but all authority figures. I disrespected my teachers, bosses, older sister, even my friends and church leaders. Crazy! But I had to learn the hard way that it wasn’t right to do that. And as a result, I got put out of class, expelled from school, lost jobs, forfeited friendships, and caused a lot of hurt to others. I was a mess! But thank God through the power of Jesus Christ and my awesome pastor and church leaders, I overcame this self-destruction and got it together.
I say all of this to say, I had to explain to my son what “respect” really meant so that he would truly know how to act it out in his own personal life and in our house. I taught him what it meant to respect authority and reverence God. In a nutshell, for all of us, it’s about how we treat God and people.
We are told through Scripture to respect our leaders. 1 Peter 2:18, “You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters. Do whatever they tell you-not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are harsh. For God is pleased with you when, for the sake of your conscience, you patiently endure unfair treatment.” (NLT) *This Scripture is talking about us as servants of Christ respecting our bosses, instructors, and leaders…even if they are hard on us sometimes. Trust me. I know this isn’t an easy pill to swallow. But it’s God’s word. Now, of course if they lead us into sin, we don’t have to obey it. BUT…if it’s not sinful, then we must comply and do it how? You got it…respectfully! God honors and loves this.
Also for wives or aspiring ones, our husbands or husband-to-be need to be respected. This is not easy, but we must work at doing this with everything in us and with the help of the Holy Spirit. 1 Peter 3:1-2 says, “In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands, even those who refuse to accept the Good News. Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words. They will be won by watching your pure, godly behavior.” (NLT) And Ephesians 5:22 and 33 says, “You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord…So again, I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
I know this is a mouthful! However, this is all meant to help us as Christian women to do our part as it relates to respecting others around us. It’s really about how we deal or talk to people. It’s about how we act around others and how we reverence our Holy Father. This requires self-examination. For instance…Are we harsh, nasty, mean, talking crazy or expressing disrespectful body language? If so, then these are things that we need to get right with God, because it’s not respectful.
So take note of the Scriptures and ask the Lord to help you respect those whom you love and those who may even seem unloveable. I have to do the same thing. But let’s always keep in mind that if we want respect, then we must first know what it means and how to apply it in our lives toward others. And when we do this, I just believe God will be very pleased and others will see the change.
“Be the change that you want to see.”
Remember, Jesus is coming back soon! And those who endure unto the end shall be saved. So let’s be ready from the Inside Out!
*Thanks for reading! I hope and pray that you’ve been enlightened from this post. Feel absolutely free to leave a comment or for questions you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will respond promptly. Also, tune in every Monday at 7:30am for new posts! Don’t forget to “Like” my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/InsideOutWCourtnaye) and share this blog with friends, family, co-workers, or your women’s group or ministry. I’d love to stay connected and help more women grow in the Lord! Thanks again and may God be with you!