Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6)
The Heavenly Father demands respect. How often we forget that He is our Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent God too. How often have we tried to enter into His Presence with unclean lips and hands? How have we entered church today and how do we behave worshipfully in church? Would you have behaved as you have with your country’s President in that church service?
Definition of respect
…admiration for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person…
….deference to a right, privilege, privileged position
He wants our worship and will not tolerate if we render worship to any other person or thing. Disrespect of Him will cause “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me”.
At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 17:7 (KJV)
There is a New Testament verse which paints the picture of respect in the final day:
11For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. Romans 14:11 (KJV)
Loose living, cussing, using the Name of the Lord in vain, pretense, and bad thoughts draw the terrible repercussions He promises to them who walk unworthily.
Let us be mindful how we behave towards our God.
Moses had to take off his shoes at the burning bush.
There’s the bottom line on respect; it is not to get in our face and make us miserable. God’s purpose for respect is that we might have a better life, a longer life, and a life filled with Him. Respect is good!
And we are told in God’s Word to constantly – every day, written out, spoken out, to remind ourselves and each other of God’s goodness and how we must respect Him….not only in the sense of admiration, but obedience too. Remember out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh and actions speak louder than words for respect.
Here is how we can successfully remind each other to have respect for God – we must accept and live by God’s purpose – no other gods before Him. Here is our goal, our purpose statement: Let us grow in grace and knowledge, so we become examples of respect towards the Father, other people, ourselves and leaders.
There are two ways to teach respect for God
I. At Home
I like Chuck Colson’s job-description for parents: Parents take small, self-centered monsters, who spend much of their time screaming defiantly and hurling peas on the carpet, and teach them to share, to wait their turn, to respect others’ property. These lessons translate into respect for others, self-restraint, obedience to law – in short, into the virtues of individual character that are vital to a society’s survival.
All parents long for a relationship in which their children respect them. Yet many parents who want to raise their children to be respectful and nonaggressive actually encourage disrespect and aggressiveness by their lack of vigorous response to their child’s behavior.
Here is Doherty’s list for teaching children respect:
* Respect your child. Begin by treating your children with respect because they learn more by your actions toward them than by your verbal statements of values or expectations. Let them express their own opinions and tastes. Apologize to your child if your behavior is out of control.
* Expect respect. Parental respect partly must be earned, but mostly it is a right that comes with your humanity and is ordered in the Ten Commandments. Begin thinking of respect as a value in your family, because without it little else will go well.
* Tune your ears to the frequency of respect and disrespect. Too many parents fail to recognize the sound of the disrespect in exchanges with their children because they focus too much on the content of what is said. It’s best to tune out the content at these times and listen for the child’s tone of voice.
* Nip disrespectful behavior in the bud. Train your reflexes to act quickly, responding immediately, if possible. Say to your child, That was disrespectful. Don’t walk away and fume about being talked to that way.
24He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Proverbs 13:24 (KJV)
6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he w ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Hebrews 12:6-8 (KJV)
Children want, and need, the comfort of parent’s discipline. It is a basic need within them to know where the fences are. whom the father chasteneth not?
Let us learn and practice respect without too much chastening from our Father.
II. At Church?
There is a tendency in our day to forget what the church is all about, Adult classes included. There is a lack of understanding that the church is for training in righteousness, evangelism and worship. It is not a fun house!
We do a lot of things that are for the true purpose – training, evangelism and worship – and we do them with joy, sometimes in a fun way. But the chief end is NOT fun! The chief end is to glorify God. We must find ways to communicate that to children and adults who tend to think like children.
How do we inculcate respect of God?
The mark of Christian discipline is that it has the responsibility of taking what is less than Christian behavior and restoring the “offender” to wholesome relationship. When we discipline for respect we will not just rip someone apart. Whatever happens around here will be done to build a brother or sister unless we are rebuking the one who is the source of all troubles among us!
To single-out one child, or adult for discipline, and ignore another is unfair. Discipline is just as appropriate for all – adults included. Appropriate dealing with inappropriate behavior means acting the same towards all.
Recognize the method and love of Jesus. Jesus’ method was “one-on-one”. That’s how we ought to witness; that’s how we mentor or disciple another. We touch one life at a time. And we touch that life with love. Sometimes it is tough love.
In Matthew 18 Jesus gave us a model. He showed us how to reconcile our differences by personal confrontation and public help. He said that if we would follow that, He, himself would be in the middle of it – even if only two or three would gather. When we bind it on earth He seals it in heaven.
#1. What level of respect for God do I have? Have I accepted his free offer of salvation on the cross? Will I now respectfully acknowledge Him by stepping forward and offering my life publicly to Christ and His church? My respect for God.
#2. What level of respect do I want to see in my church? Will I pray? Do I have an idea that will help? Will I go forward and find out if there is a way I can help?
#3 How have I handled the Bible (the Word of the Living God)? with respect or disrespect?
Have I treated its contents in the same way ?
Note: The Muslims put the Koran above all books and handle it with respect. The Koran. has the highest place of honor in the home.
#4 Do you treat your Pastor and the church leadership with respect or is there backbiting and disrespect?
The Lord wants us to show respect – He did even to the foreign government of His time – – He said render unto Ceasar what belonged to Caesar. Should not we follow His example?
How do you want others to treat you? with respect?
Do unto others what you would have them do to you.
There is one “respect” which we do not want to practice in church – that is, discrimination – respect of persons based on how they are dressed or what they possess, or what station in life they hold – with bias or neglect or unwelcome for the lowly.
May the Lord help us to be respectful as everyone is equal in His sight.