Respect and Civility: Where Have They Gone?
October 1, 2020 | View PDF
Political discord. Civil unrest. Violence in the streets. Toxic division. Ugly accusations. Harmful words.
In the minds of many, these words define the state of our wonderful country right now!
The lack of respect and civility in our country in recent months and years is very alarming and downright scary to me! It is a red flag waving in the wind for us as Americans, and we should tread very carefully in determining how we as a people in these great United States Of America will personally respond and behave. Changing this starts with you and me. So, why should we begin to show more respect and how can we express greater civility for others?
In part one of this series, I want to address why we should show respect. In part two, next month, I will explore how we can express greater civility!
Respect has become an endangered value in recent years. The Bible has a lot to say about respecting others. In 1 Peter 2:17, Peter reminds us to “Show proper respect to everyone.”
Everyone even includes people that we vehemently disagree with on any subject. The Bible tells us to: respect and honor our parents, respect and obey civil authority, respect your spouse, show respect for our elected leaders (even if you did not vote for them), and respect even those who don’t show respect to you or your views!
Why should we show respect?
1. God created each of us!
“You have made them (human beings) a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.” – Psalm 8:5 NIV
People aren’t perfect and they make mistakes and bad choices, but they are still made in His image and deserve our respect. God loves even the most difficult ones to love, and we are called to do the same. You don’t have to like them or agree with them, BUT we are called to love them. And loving people means showing respect for them!
2. Jesus Christ died on a cross for every single person!
God values each person so much that He sent Christ to sacrifice His life for them. Everyone matters to God. Even those we sharply disagree with. Every person you meet is worth dying for in God’s eyes. “He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead they will live for Christ...” – Paul, 2 Corinthians 5:15
Every person you will ever meet (even those you really disagree or don’t approve of their behavior) was suffered and died for by Jesus Christ. Why? Because they matter to HIM!
3. Showing love and respect for others proves we 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
The Bible tells us over and over again that God is love. And if you know God you will seek to love others because He loves them. Jesus commanded us as his disciples to: “Love others as I have loved you.” – Jesus, John 15:17
There is no way to show love and disrespect at the same time. To show love to someone is to show respect. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with them at all. But is does mean we must learn to disagree in loving and respectful ways!
4. You will reap what you sow!
If you want to be respected, you must show respect for others! What goes around, comes around as they say. It’s not just Karma, it is a truth from the Word of God. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” – Paul, Galatians 6:7
Everyone these days wants to be heard and respected. But if we aren’t willing to listen to and respect others and their opinions, we will not receive respect from them nor will our voices be heard. It comes down to the golden rule: “Treat others as you want to be treated.” – Jesus, Luke 6:31.
May we all remember these reasons to show respect to others as we engage in our daily conversations and our weekly meetings. If this article helped you, share this article with someone else.
Spread the love and the respect.
Our country desperately needs it right now!
Dr. Lester Spencer
St. James United Methodist Church
9045 Vaughn Road