D.I.S.R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Romans 13:7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

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I receive a daily email from a site called Mamapedia.  I am not sure WHY I get it, since I do not have small children.  The daily digest  mainly has a list of questions that struggling parents are asking.  One of the questions was from a desperate dad reached out to the audience for help and reassurance.  He had a 4 year old that was very disrespectful to him.  She consistently said mean things, such as “I don’t want people to see me with you”, called him names, hid from him when he was taking her to dance or school, and often stuck her tongue out at him.  He had tried timeout but she would not even stay in the time-out chair.

I do not want to lose any followers so I will not give you my advise on HOW to handle this child, but I will tell you that I am a believer of spare the rod, spoil the child.  The Bible is very clear that respect is good and disrespect is bad.  Respect is admiration for a person because of his or her position, abilities, qualities, or achievements. Respect is associated with esteem, regard, high opinion, admiration, reverence, deference, and honor. In the Bible, respect is more specifically the act of acknowledging another person’s worth, especially because of position, honor, or age. Disrespect is the opposite of respect: it is failing to acknowledge another’s worth, withholding the honor that should be given, or actively demeaning someone.

According the Bible, respect should be given to those who are owed respect.  So who are “those who are owed respect?” The Bible gives us four categories of people to whom respect should be given: elders, authority figures, Jesus Christ, and mankind in general. Elders are owed respect because of their age and experience. (Leviticus 19:32, 1 Timothy 5:1). Since the experience that comes with old age to respect your elders is to respect the wisdom they can give.

Authority figures outside the church would be policemen, firemen, teachers, and bosses, to name a few.  Others listed in the Bible who are owed respect, include political leaders such as the President (1 Peter 2:17) and city officials (Mark 15:43).  The Bible continues to list people and positions Christians should show respect to; those in authority at the church (1 Timothy 3:2), spiritual leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:12), good fathers who discipline their children (Hebrews 12:9), parents in general (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4), husbands (Ephesians 5:33), and the masters of servants or slaves (bosses). Interestingly, slaves are told to respect their masters not only when their masters are good and gentle, but also when they are harsh and unjust (1 Peter 2:18).

Finally, respect is something that is owed to people in general, from one man to another.  A parable is told about a wicked judge who did not fear God or respect man (Luke 18:2). The judge’s disrespect for people is a feature of his wickedness in the story. Christians are not only to honor their fellow believers (Romans 12:10), but also to respect those who do not believe. We are Christians and should be Christlike.  Christ respected others, even those who He knew were wrong in their thoughts or actions. (1 Peter 3:15).

First Peter 2:17 describes respect, perfectly “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”  Many of you will not like, and may even disagree, with the Bible’s instruction on how to handle disrespect.  The Bible not only gives us instructions on what is good and wise but how to do what is good is wise.  We live in a culture that disagrees with God and the Bible.  The worldly experts tells parents that the way of the Bible is old and outdated instruction.  But the Bible is  timeless. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Many of you deal with grown ups who act just like this 4 year old to their family members, to the waitress, the sales associate, the pastor, the teacher and anyone else who tells them no or doesn’t do what they want. They are mean and nasty to people in authority, will not listen to wise counsel and use the excuse that the people they treat disrespectfully do not deserve their respect.  They have an excuse for everyone they treat badly and they are adamant that they are the victims.

Some of the responses to the father made excuses for the child. Some appeared to say maybe the things the 4 year said were true.  While others explained how to stop the disrespect and emphatically said, stop it now before it gets worse.  If I were going to give advice, I would encourage the parent to seek out the answer in God’s word.  God not only tells us that we should be respectful but He tells us how to handle people who are not, children and adults.  Churches don’t like his answer.  Christians don’t like his answer.  BUT HE GIVE US THE CLEAR ANSWER!

Disrespectful children grow up to be disrespectful adults.  Unfortunately, we have a lot of D.I.S.R.E.S.P.E.C.T going around.  God never said respect had to be earned, man made that up.  I will give respect when I get respect, is not in the Bible.  Again we made that up. If we want to change the world, we need to look at ourselves, look in our own homes, our churches and our schools.  God says there is blessings from obeying His Word.  Are you, your children, your church members, your employees receiving God’s blessings?? If not, you can.  Open the Bible today and make a commitment to live your life as God directs and tune out all the world experts who advice you to be totally contrary to God.  It may be hard, but it will be worth it.

Training Required

warrior-pose-3401143_1920.jpg1 Timothy 4:8

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

As a recent cancer survivor I decided it was time to get into shape.  After making a decision to do something about my health, I whispered a little prayer for God to help me take my words and turn them into action.  Within an hour I heard an advertisement for a local gym offering a $1 registration fee for membership.  It was my first confirmation sign.

Afraid I would change my mind, I decided to talk to my friend and co-worker about the special.  Maybe saying the words out loud would motivate me to move forward and sign up.  The $1 registration was a “Today” only special so I had to make a decision quickly. Needless to say, my friend not only thought it was a good idea, but she wanted to sign up with me.  Confirmation sign two.

On my first day, I looked around the gym which was full of people working on cardio and body sculpting.  I wondered how many of the people in the room were working as hard on building up their spiritual lives as they were their physical bodies.  The last part of the scripture came to my mind “godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come”

It is both the privilege and duty of every Christian to pursue godliness, to train himself to be godly, to study diligently the practice of godliness.  What then is godliness? What are the marks of a godly person? How does a person become godly?

Listed below are 5 ways you can practice godliness:

  1. Honor God – The first commandment says that we should have not other gods before Him.  Is God really number one in your life?  Are you honoring Him with your mouth?  Are you telling others the wonders of His great love for you and them?  Are you honoring Him with your praise in song, by fellowshipping with others and reading His word? Begin your day by honoring God early in the morning as you ask Him to help you honor Him in all you do and say. Your morning prayers need to be attuned to honoring God. Your evening prayers should be occasions to ask for forgiveness and to praise God for all that He allows you to have.
  2. Diligently Seek God – Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” There are two important concepts in this scripture: faith, and a reward to those who seek God.
  3. Produce Good Fruit – John 15:2 reads, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” In verses 16-17 of the same chapter, Jesus states, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another..”  Your fruit production involves virtually every are of your life: your jobs, your child rearing, church attendance, tithing and giving, your love for others, and your marriage.
  4. Apply biblical truth to your life – James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  Read, study, and meditate on the Bible’s words often to get to know it well and absorb its truths into your soul. Practice applying what it says in the various situations you encounter – focusing especially on trusting in God’s grace rather than your own efforts to be righteous, valuing God over what the world offers, choosing faith over fear, and learning to love in deeper ways.
  5. Practice spiritual disciplines – Spiritual disciplines will help you consistently reduce the amount of selfishness in your attitudes and actions while increasing the amount of holiness in your life. 2 Timothy 3:16  says “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”
    Fellowship with other believers, confession of sin, fasting, meditation, prayer, service, solitude, study, submission, and worship are a few examples of spiritual discipline.

I know that my friend is going to help me stay on track with my physical activity and the goals I set with my new gym membership.  I am so blessed because my workout partner is also a wonderful spiritual friend.  That means that she also helps me focus on my spiritual fitness as well.  If you are a Christian, your journey to godliness is an important part of your spiritual life. Pray for friends to accompany you on your journeyAsk God to connect you with some good friends who are also pursuing spiritual growth so you all can encourage and support each other.