Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. ~1 Timothy 5:1-2
When I was a kid growing up, my father, elders, and teachers in school made a strong emphasis on respecting other people. The age we now live in has morphed into barbarism, crudeness, and disrespect. Sadly, we find disrespect in our Christian homes and even in our churches. Disrespect is an indicator of low character, irreverence, and a carnal Christianity. At the same time, we must realize that we must also be respectable people in our actions and thoughts if we expect people to respect us. Paul addresses the importance of respect in 1 Timothy 5:1-2.
There is the demise of respect.
There are several reasons behind the demise of respect. The lack of training is one of the top reasons. Respect is a character trait that must be taught and ingrained. Children and teens should be taught to acknowledge their parents, people in authority, and adults. The bestowing of greetings such as, “How are you, sir?” “Good morning,” and, “Good evening” are necessary practices. Another reason for a demise of respect is the tendency of people to be biased and show favoritism. People show more respect for those who do something for them or are partial to them. James 2:1-9 tells us that favoritism is a sin and must be forsaken. Another reason for the demise of respect is the lack of role models for young people to follow. Perhaps, one other reason for much of the disrespect we see is a spirit of indifference towards showing honor to others.
There is the directive in respect.
Paul gives a strong directive on demonstrating respect in the church and between Christians. First, we must be respectful of the office of those in positions of authority. This includes making proper acknowledgement when you are in that person’s presence, but also to address the person properly. Those who are older than us deserve our respect. Older women should be looked to as if they are our own mother. Second, we must be respectful of those who are our peers. As peers, we must be careful of envy and jealousy coming into our hearts when we see success or gain occurring in their life. Third, we must show respect to those younger than us. Paul said to treat the younger men as brothers and the younger women as sisters.
There is the discipling of respect.
With the demise of respect in society, it is incumbent upon Christians and the church to teach this to our children and members. Our speech must be with salt, seasoned with grace. We need a revival of “Please,” “Thank you,” “Pardon me,” “Excuse me,” “Can I help you?” and “Congratulations!” We must avoid being critical of others, especially of those in authority. Backtalk to those in authority must be kept in check. We must model respect by giving our children and members opportunities to demonstrate respect, love, and honor. Church should be a place where people hear the kindest words, see the most respectful people, and know how to enjoy having fellowship and achievement together.
Respect is about our attitude. When people see little to no respect from us, in turn, they are less inclined to respect us. All of us need to make improvements in this needy area. Be a man or woman of honor by giving honor to others.
Have a respect-filled God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 1 Samuel 13-14