“But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.” I Thessalonians 5:12-13
R-E-S-P-E-C-T is not just a great Aretha Franklin song from the 1960’s. I have yet to come across a person who did not desire to be respected. Every husband, wife, friend, or acquaintance attentively searches for others who are eager to respect not only them but also their time. Respect involves showing more concern for people than agendas, thinking highly of others, building them up in love, and treating others with fairness and integrity.
An integral part of showing respect is simply listening. We offer our presence and open our ears, listening to the hidden hurts and heartaches, the deepest dreams and desires of those we come across. Our God listens to our prayers; Jesus listened to those around him; and as such we too are commanded to listen to our brothers and sisters in Christ. An important part of listening with respect means that we do not rush to fix things or offer solutions. Rather we are directed to respect folks enough to let them share their full story. Sometimes all another person needs is for someone to hear what’s on their heart, just as we desire for others to listen to us.
Further, respect means we trust others, that they will confidently do a great job without needing our help, and in their own way. Although difficult, we are called to respect the way God has shaped and moulded those around us, with the acknowledgment that they may do things differently.
Finally we also demonstrate respect by doing what we can to protect the reputation and dignity of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Instead of listening to malicious gossip about others, or contributing to the spread of rumours, we allow our Christian love for others overcome any relational impediments. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8).
1) What does it mean to really respect someone?
2) What would cause you to lose respect for someone?
3) How important is it for you to be respected? Why?