We live in a very rude world. And unfortunately people are becoming ruder by the minute. Common courtesy isn't so common any more. It seems that respect for people is at an all time low. Our favorite kind of humor today is sarcasm -- put down humor. Whether it is Leno, Letterman, Stewart, or Colbert many tune in and listen to them put down society. Their favorite targets are those in authority, those in leadership; those who should be respected if for no other reason than because of their position.
But the Bible makes it very clear that respect is one of those values that is necessary for life. The Bible is very specific about this. We find that we are to respect parents, people in authority, and church leadership. The Scriptures go on to instruct wives to respect and reverence their husbands and husbands are to respect and reverence their wives. And if we think that someone doesn't fit the above categories, the Lord tells us that we should respect and honor all men.
(1 Peter 2:17) Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
We all want to be respected. We want other people to treat us with dignity. So today we're going to begin to look at this missing characteristic. We will consider the why and how of showing respect.
Let's begin by looking at four reasons why we should respect everybody regardless of their lifestyle, regardless of their decisions, regardless of their behavior or beliefs. The Bible says every person should be treated with respect.
1. Because God Made Everybody.
(Psalms 8:4-5) What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
a. Everybody is created by God and God doesn't make junk.
b. There are no worthless people.
c. There are people who do worthless things.
d. There are people who do wrong things but they are all created by and loved by God.
e. Even the most unlovable person is loved by God.
f. Honor and respect doesn't mean we embrace or endorse what they do or even what they believe, but we respect the individual as a creation of God.
g. God isn't finished with any of us, is He?
(Philippians 3:13-14) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
a. We are all a work in progress.
b. So let's not forget where we came from…let's remember that we are all made of the same stuff…we are all flesh.
2. Because Jesus Died For Everyone.
(1 Peter 1:18-19) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
a. We may not think much about somebody, but God does.
b. In fact, He says they are worth dying for.
c. The cross shows how much people matter to God.
d. Jesus died for all… people who don't believe in Him; people who reject Him; people who choose to disobey Him!
(Romans 5:8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
e. Jesus died for me, but He also died for the world.
(John 3:17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
3. Because It Shows We Know God.
(1 John 4:8) He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
a. The Bible says that God is love and if I know God then I'm going to fill my life with love.
b. Love always treats people with respect.
c. If you look at the life of Jesus Christ, He treated everyone with respect.
d. The woman at the well, the woman taken in adultery, Nicodemus, even Judas and Peter.
e. If I am a believer, a Christian, then I'm going to treat other people the way Jesus did.
f. I'm going to treat them with value and with dignity.
(1 Corinthians 13:5) [Love] Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
g. That verse says that love is not rude and selfish.
h. When I'm rude I'm basically saying, "I'm the only one that matters."
i. So I treat you with disgust or disrespect - I treat you rudely.
4. Because of the Law of the Harvest.
(Galatians 6:7) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
a. Whatever goes around comes around.
b. Whatever you give out, you're going to get back.
(Matthew 7:12) Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
a. It never pays to be rude.
(Proverbs 11:17) The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.
In a world that's full of rudeness and disrespect, how can we show respect to others in a practical way? Five practical ways to do this:
1. When We Speak, Be Tactful, Not Just Truthful.
(Proverbs 15:4) A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
a. The primary way we show respect is with our words.
b. 'Wholesome' carries with it the idea of healing or curative.
c. This verse reminds us that we need to give attention to how we speak.
d. Paul admonished us to 'Speak the truth in love'
e. The way we say something will go a long way in determining how well it's going to be received.
f. Learning how to be truthful and tactful at the same time is an absolute essential of being respectful.
g. People with tact often have a lot less to retract.
h. We don't have to eat our words as often if we say them in a kind way.
i. Many people today don't understand this; they often confuse rudeness with frankness.
j. "I just tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may!"
k. That's not being frank; that's being mean and disrespectful to people.
2. When We Are Served, Be Understanding Not Demanding.
(Luke 6:31) And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
a. One of the greatest tests of our character is how we treat people when they serve us.
b. Waitress, waiters, clerks, employees, secretaries, even family!
c. When people are doing something for us, are we understanding or are we demanding?
d. It takes no intelligence at all to be rude.
e. But it takes great character and great maturity to be understanding, and not demanding, of people.
f. The best place to practice this is at home.
g. I know people who treat their families in ways they would never consider treating a stranger.
h. They say hurtful things to their families that they would never consider saying to someone they didn't know. That's not right.
i. Dave House sent this to the list a while back.
j. God says even in our families we need to be understanding, not demanding.
3. When We Disagree, Be Gentle Not Judgmental.
(Romans 14:12) So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
a. This verse reminds us that ultimately we will all give an accounting before the Lord.
b. I am going to give an account to God for myself and everyone else will give account for themselves.
c. Judgment belongs to God, not me.
d. I can disagree with you on any number of issues, without becoming disagreeable or judgmental.
e. Remember, telling the truth is not being judgmental.
f. But if I use the truth to attack and beat people down, then I am wrong.
(Ephesians 4:29) Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
g. Paul reminded us that if we don't have love, then people won't hear the message of truth that we want to proclaim.
(1 Corinthians 13:1) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
h. We can be right on an issue but if we're rude about it, we're wrong!
4. When We Share Our Faith, Be Respecting Not Rejecting.
(1 Peter 3:15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
a. We cannot argue people into heaven.
b. We won't see them come to Christ if our attitude is, "Turn or burn! You're going to die and fry while we go to the sky!"
c. When we share our faith we must do so with gentleness and respect.
5. When People Are Rude, Respond Politely
(Romans 12:17) Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
a. Don't retaliate by being rude back.
b. That only makes things worse.
c. The 4th rule of communication is "Act, don't react."
d. God expects us to react to every situation, every individual, in manner that is biblical.
(Ephesians 4:31-32) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
There is no excuse for rude and disrespectful behavior in the life of a believer. We have a responsibility to represent Christ in this world. One important value that we must build our lives upon is the value of showing respect.