The Need for Respect
One of the greatest gifts parents can give their children is to teach their children respect. Respect is one of the greatest assets that any person can possess. Children who are taught proper respect grow up to become teenagers who respect authority. Teenagers who are taught respect grow up to become adults who respect authority. Too often, the evidence seems to indicate that many of our children are not being taught the need to respect those in authority. Please give consideration to our plea for all to understand the need for respect.
Respect means to have or show high regard for someone or something. Respect also means to esteem with honor. In order to have others respect you, you must first learn to respect. There are five areas wherein all should learn to respect. These five areas are: Respect for God and His Word, respect for one’s parents, respect for one’s government, respect for others, and respect for one’s own self.
I firmly believe that proper respect for God and His Word is where all other respect must begin. If a person does not respect the ultimate authority, God, then why should they respect any other lower authority? Why should a person respect God and His Word? Consider the following reasons:
- God is the creator of this world and the universe which surrounds it. (Genesis 1,2) The creator of all demands our respect, love, and our obedience. Jesus said, “‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30, NKJV)
- God sent Jesus to die on the cross so that sinful man could be saved from everlasting damnation. (John 3:16; I John 4:9) Should we not respect God who sent His son to pay the ultimate price for our spiritual freedom?
- God has given us a law by which we will be judged. (II Cor. 5:10; II Tim. 4:1) Since we have available the standard by which we will be judged, should we not respect that standard and the One who gave it?
- Jesus taught that we are to fear Him which can destroy both the body and the soul. (Matt. 10:28) There are many people who could destroy our bodies, but only God can destroy the body and the soul. God is the One whom we should respect above all others.
All of the above reasons should make clear to the honest heart the need to respect God and His Word. King David is a fine example of one who had the proper respect for God and His Word. Please take the time to read Psalms 119:33-40.
The next area of respect should be directed at our parents. If a person has a well grounded respect for God and His word, then that person will have the proper respect for His own parents. Some people may ask, “Why must I respect my parents?” For those who respect God, the answer is, “Because God said so.”
Consider the words of the apostle Paul who wrote, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘That it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’” (Eph. 6:1-4, NKJV) Paul also wrote, “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” (Col. 3:20, NKJV)
Parents, you have a grave responsibility to teach your children respect. In order for your children to respect you, they must find you worthy of respect. You will be seen as being worthy of respect if your children see you as a source of authority, if they see you loving them, and if they see you respecting authority.
Children, you must also remember one more important fact that should help you to respect your parents. Solomon, being inspired by God, wrote, “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” (Prov. 13:24, NKJV) Solomon also wrote, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.” (Prov. 22:15, NKJV) Parents have the right to properly discipline their children in love.
God has told us to respect the government and the leaders of the land. Please take the time to read the words of Paul in Romans 13:1-7. Paul, who lived during the reign of the Roman empire, told Christians to be subject to the governing authorities. (vs 1) Paul also pointed out that “there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (vs 2)
If a person resists the authority of the government, he resists the “ordinance of God” and brings judgment upon himself. (vs 3) We should respect the local government for conscience sake. (vs 5) Paul concludes this subject by writing, “Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” (vs 7)
If we disagree with what is going on with our government, then we should make use of whatever rights we have been given to affect change. Also, we should listen to Paul’s instructions found in I Timothy 2:1-2. “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” (I Timothy 2:1-2, NKJV)
There is also a need to respect other people and their property. One of the simplest ways to express the need to respect other people is found in Matthew 7:12. Jesus said, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew. 7:12)
Consider three other passages which teach the attitude of respecting others on an equal basis. Paul wrote in Romans 12:10, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;” (NKJV) Paul also wrote in Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (NKJV) The apostle Peter wrote, “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” (NKJV) You will find, generally speaking, that if you respect other people for who they area as well as their life and their property, then most people will have the same respect for you. I am sure that there are some exceptions to the rule, but overall, you will find the principle to be solid.
The last area of respect is for you to respect yourself. Too many people suffer from a lack of self respect. A lack of self respect has caused many people to take certain paths in their lives which they have later regretted. If you do not respect yourself, then address the reason why you do not respect yourself, then begin to make the needed changes. Remember, though, that God does love you and no matter what others say, you are worth something to Him. He wants you to learn from His word and to obey His word. In order to learn from the Word of God, you must first respect God and His Word.
Each and every person must judge himself in the area of respect. I hope that I have shown you sufficient need for respect and sufficient need to teach your children to respect. Remember, if you want to be respected, you must first learn to respect.