Today we’re looking at one of those endangered character qualities. It’s the quality of respect. We live in a very rude world, people are becoming more and more rude. Common courtesy isn’t so common anymore. It seems that respect for other people, respect for property, respect the government, educational institutions, big business, law enforcement, and religious institutions is at an all-time low.
The Bible makes it very clear that respect is one of those values that a stable life is built on. Respect is the framework for a civilized society. If there isn’t respect among each other, respect for rights and respect for responsibilities, then civilization decays.
“Show proper respect to everyone.” 1 Peter 2:17 NIV
The Bible is really specific about this: everybody is worthy of respect. We all want to be respected. That’s one of our basic needs in life. There was an interview in which they were asking people who were poor what their greatest need was. The number one thing that came up above material possessions or money was to be treated with dignity and respect.
We all want other people to treat us with dignity and respect. So, how do you get respect?
The way you get respect is the way you give it.
Why Treat Everyone With Respect?
The Bible shares with us four reasons we should show everyone respect regardless of their lifestyle, decisions, behavior or beliefs.
1. BECAUSE GOD MADE EVERYBODY.
“You (God) made (human beings) inferior only to yourself; you crowned them with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:5 GNT
Everybody is created by God and God doesn’t make junk. There are no worthless people. Now, we can agree that there are people who do worthless things and people who do wrong things, but all people are of value to God.
2. BECAUSE JESUS DIED FOR EVERYONE.
Let’s look at our memory verse for this week.
“God paid a ransom to save you… He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 TLB
We may not think much about somebody, but God does. He loves the unlovable. In fact, He says He love them so much they are worth dying for. The cross shows how much people matter to God. God loves people who don’t believe in Him, people who reject Him, people who choose to disobey Him.
3. BECAUSE RESPECT SHOWS YOU KNOW GOD.
“If a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 TLB
Love always treats people with respect. If we are filled with Jesus Christ’s love and if Christ’s Spirit is living through us, then we will treat other people the way Jesus did.
The number one test of our faith is our relationships.
It’s not what you believe or what you say you believe that matters. What matters much more is how your beliefs come out in your behavior.
“Love is not rude.” 1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV
What is rudeness? We see it all around us but what really is it? The bottom line is, rudeness is simply disrespect. If we are rude to someone it shows we don’t care, or that person is not worth much in our eyes.
4. BECAUSE YOU WILL GET BACK WHATEVER YOU GIVE OUT.
It’s the law of the harvest; the reciprocal rule. Whatever goes around comes around. God has set it up this way.
You will get back whatever you give out.
If you want to be respected, it’s simple — treat other people with respect. If you want to be treated with value with dignity, treat other people with value and dignity.
“A man’s harvest in life will depend entirely on what he sows.” Galatians 6:7 PH
Here is a little insight about the rule of the harvest. A harvest is for a season. A farmer does not plant a seed one day and wake up the next day to harvest. Some of you may have planted grass seed this fall. You probably verticut or aeriated your yard then planted your seed and then watered it properly. Depending on the type of grass seed you planted it can take a week to four weeks before you start seeing the new grass pop up out of the ground.
So, don’t expect to go home today and start showing respect, or treating another person with dignity and expect them to respond immediately. It takes time. Especially if you are a person who is consistently disrespectful. It’s not going to happen overnight. Don’t get discouraged and frustrated. A little respect can start to make a difference. Over time you will reap what you sow.
Great people are just ordinary people who make people feel great.
The most respected people are the most respectful people. They show it and they receive it in life. So, these are the biblical reason why we show respect to everyone. So how can we show respect? What does that look like?
Five Practical Ways to Show Respect
1. WHEN YOU SPEAK TO OTHER PEOPLE… BE TACTFUL, NOT JUST TRUTHFUL
“Gentle words cause life and health; griping brings discouragement.” Proverbs 15:4 TLB
The primary way we show respect is with our words. This verse is talking about tactfulness. Tactfulness is a quality we don’t hear too much about today. It’s about watching how and what you say.
If you are tempted to say something rude you stop and T.H.I.N.K. Ask yourself:
T – Is this truthful?
H – Is it helpful
I – Is it inspirational?
N – Is it necessary?
K – Is it kind?
The way you say something determines how well it’s going to be received. You can say the same thing in different ways, and it will be accepted or rejected. Tact is the secret sauce when it comes to communicating to others. It’s the key to a happy home, a happy marriage, and strong friendships. It increases productivity in the workplace.
Learning how to be tactful and truthful at the same time is an absolute essential of being respectful.
People with tact often have a lot less to retract.
You don’t have to eat your words so often if you say them in a kind way. Some people today don’t understand tactfulness. Have you ever heard someone say, “I just tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may!” That’s not smart at all! Most often those chips land on disrespect and rudeness.
Before you even start to speak, ask yourself – am I about to destroy them or develop them? Build them up or tear them down? Make a point to prove I am right or find common ground?
2. WHEN YOU ARE SERVED BY OTHER PEOPLE… BE UNDERSTANDING NOT DEMANDING
One of the greatest tests of your character is how you treat people that serve you. When people are doing something for you are you understanding or are you demanding? Sometimes we forget those serving us are people too.
Those waiters and waitress have difficult bosses, co-workers who don’t show up for work, technical issues, a spouse or kid who is at home sick. Their cars break down just like yours does. It is possible they are having a bad day.
You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat people who serve them. Jesus said…
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31 NIV
There is a quote by Eric Hoffer, “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” It takes no intelligence at all to be rude. Rude people are rude because they want control. Rude people have often been wounded in the past, so they protect themselves by wounding others before they can be wounded themselves.
Some people are rude because of pride, they view others as inferior to them. Rude people often have a secret they don’t want you to know about. So, they keep people at a distant by being rude and disrespectful. It takes character, maturity and great strength to be understanding, not demanding, of people.
Common courtesy is just love in the little things.
3. WHEN YOU DISAGREE WITH PEOPLE… BE GENTLE NOT JUDGMENTAL
As a believer there are a lot of things we disagree with in our culture. So how are we supposed to react to people we disagree with? When we disagree with our relative, neighbor, co-worker, or friend we need to remember two things:
- Every will be accountable to God for their own attitudes, actions and behaviors.
- You are not God – others are not accountable to you.
“Each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one other.” Romans 14:12-13 NIV
What does it mean to be judgmental? It is when you take the truth and you beat people over the head with it and you enjoy it. It makes you feel morally superior. Being gentle is when we tell the truth to help people and to develop them rather than harm them or put them down.
4. WHEN YOU SHARE YOUR FAITH WITH PEOPLE… RESPECT THEM DON’T REJECT THEM
If we are tactful, understanding, and gentle when speaking God’s Truth, His Truth will convict people in Love through the work of the Holy Spirit. Some of the rudest people you may have ever met were over zealous Christians.
Some are so committed to the truth, that they don’t really care that much about the people that Jesus died for. They beat people over the head with truth in a judgmental fashion. They are more interested in showing you what they know then showing how you can know God.
“If anybody asks why you believe as you do, be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way.” 1 Peter 3:15-16 TLB
You can’t argue people into heaven. You don’t win them over by saying, “Turn or burn!” God wants us to be a light in the world, not a blow torch.
5. WHEN PEOPLE ARE RUDE TO YOU… RESPOND POLITELY
Don’t retaliate by being rude back, that only adds fuel to the fire.
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil… overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17,21 NIV
Where Does Respect Begin?
Respect starts in the home. We start at our physical home, our church home, and our community. We’re to honor our parents — that’s the fifth commandment. One of the most critical lessons a child learns is how to relate to authority. If a child doesn’t learn how to relate to authority and show respect, he’ll never be successful in his career, in school, in relationships, or marriage.
How do you teach your child to respect authority? By the way you treat others. The Bible says we are to respect parents (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1-2), spouses (Ephesians 5:22-33, 1 Peter 3:1,7), church leaders (Hebrews 13:17), and anyone in authority (Romans 13:1-7). We learn respect at home, it starts in the family. Whatever you give out, you’re going to get back.
Check back on your discussion from last week about BALANCE. Do you remember the memory verse? Have you had any opportunities to commit your schedule to God?
“My times are in your hands.” Psalm 31:15
Hear the Word
Good relationships depend on respect and one test of your faith is how you handle your relationships. It’s not what you believe or what you say you believe that matters as much as how that belief is expressed in the way you treat other people.
In Matthew 25 Christ tells us that we bless him when we feed and clothe the needy, when we extend hospitality to others, and when we visit the sick and imprisoned: He says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.”
In your time together, read Matthew 25:34-45.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
1. The Bible has a lot to say about why respect is so important. Here are just a few truths to reflect on. God made everybody. (Psalm 8:5) Jesus died for everyone. (1 Peter 1:18-19) Respect shows you know God. (1 John 4:8) You’ll get back whatever you give out (Galatians 6:7) Which one of these reasons to respect other people stand out to you the most?
2. Proverbs 15:4 says, “Gentle words cause life and health; griping brings discouragement.” I’m sure you probably know someone who is good at speaking truth with grace. They are often tactful and truthful. How do they do both?
3. Have you ever noticed that we can often be kind and respectful to people at school or the people we work with and the people we interact with in the community, but then go home and be rude to our family? Why is that? Why do you think that sometimes we are the most disrespectful to the people we are closest to?
4. Romans 12:17,21 says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil…overcome evil with good.” That kind of respect really begins in the home. This is one of the most critical lessons for a child to learn. Discuss with your group how you can model respect as an example for your children or young people in your life.
Tell Someone Else
Who can you show some respect to this week? Is there a coworker, fellow student or family member you could share this message with so you could help one another be respectful?
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