June 22, 2010
The Return of Respect
"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord."
Leviticus 19:18 (NIV)
When I was pregnant with my third child, I shamefully displayed a lack of respect for a police officer. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I was running late for church. On the way, I had to drop off my eldest son at baseball practice. The fact that he had practice on a church night already had my tail feathers up in the air, not to mention it was drizzling rain.
To make up for lost time, I sped right into the park where the police officer pulled me over. I was appalled! How could he set up a speed trap in the park on a rainy day to catch a pregnant woman who was running late for church! The nerve! I thought.
I'd had it. Before the officer could approach my car, I jumped out in the rain and met him halfway. "Are you going to give me a ticket?" I questioned with one hand on my hip and the other pointing in his face. He didn't speak nor did his expression change so I continued. "I thought it was outrageous enough that these boys have to practice ball on a church night in the rain, but nooooo! Being set up for a speed trap in the park takes the cake!"
"Ma'am, I'm sorry." He apologized.
"Well, you should be," I whispered under my breath.
"I can't do anything about your son's practice, but I can assure you I can do something about your speeding," he said while firmly pulling his ticket pad from his coat pocket. "Furthermore," he added, "if you continue to disrespect my authority, I can do something about that too."
Disrespect his authority? Is that what I did? Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened. While I'd like to blame my behavior on my hormones, I can't. I was guilty on all accounts. As I cowered back to my car, I noticed my children's faces pressed against the window of the backseat. They were no doubt learning how to disrespect authority—from their mother.
I let what I thought were my rights blind me to truth. It was my duty to submit to the authority of the police officer. Regrettably, this kind of behavior goes on everyday in the workplace, the home, and even in the church. Why is that? I believe it's because our society today has lost a general lack of respect for one another.
God commands, 'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord" (Leviticus 19:18). We show honor to God by displaying reverential esteem of others. Respect for God alone should motivate us to offer grace by extending an encouraging word instead of thrashing another with a rude comment. Generally, those who tear down others usually have little respect for themselves. Their rude comments are a desperate attempt to make themselves look better. Sadly, the results usually turn out opposite.
Can you imagine what our world would look like today if we heeded God's command? Envision how great it would be if all spouses respected one another; if children honored their parents; and if citizens obeyed the laws of God and government. It would be a different world! We would have a feeling of security with gestures of love freely given and received. Common courtesies would be raised from the dead. We'd make an effort to know our neighbors and lend a helping hand to a stranger. The words "fear" and "anxiety" would be dropped from the human language. Peace and goodwill would be the heartbeat of our existence.
Let's not dream of a world where people live together in unity, love, and respect as God intended. We can make it happen together using one little word called respect.
Dear Lord, I confess that I don't always respect others' rights, feelings, properties, time or space. Help me to be more gracious and kind, by the power of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life by Lysa TerKeurst & Sharon Jaynes
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Practice respect this week by holding the door for a stranger. Help out a sales clerk by re-hanging dropped clothing from the floor. Respect the privacy of your co-worker by not sharing her troubles with another. Respect your child by listening to their dreams. When your spouse speaks, give your undivided attention. And respect traffic laws by going the speed limit!
What can you do at home, church and the work place to revive respect among one another?
Galatians 5:14, "The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (NIV)
© 2010 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105