Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Respecting Others

In the business world, I've often been involved in conversations regarding respect for others, whether it was a new co-worker, a long-time boss, or a temporary contractor. We would talk about how someone was too new or young to have earned respect, or how their latest escapade diminished the amount of respect due them.

Basically, every conversation came down to whether or not someone had earned the right to be respected. Truth be told, I subscribed to that view for a long time, and still think that way on occasion, even though I know better.

Today on Facebook, I saw this, and it resonated with me.

The Golden Rule of Respect?
However, I think it does get one thing wrong. Or, rather, it takes a worldly view instead of a Kingdom view on the issue.

Romans 12:10  tells us to love one another with brotherly affection, while Philippians 2:3 admonishes us to count others as more significant than ourselves. Neither of them includes an "if they've earned it" or "if you like them" codicil. We are commanded to love and give everyone honor (1 Peter 2:17).

Perhaps the most forceful passage about respecting everyone equally is found in James 2:1-9. James has some very strong words for us in regards to showing partiality to those that are rich or powerful, while shunning the poor and the weak. This applies as well, I think, to showing respect and extending courtesies. (For an excellent treatment of this passage, I would recommend to you this sermon from Dr. Corey Abney.)

In short, it comes down to one very simple truth. We are all children of God, created in His image, and we have all fallen short of His glory. As Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, "as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."

So, we show respect not just because of their character or our character, but because of His character in us.


  1. I think that many people confuse 'respect' with things like admiration, trust, and confidence.

    I give everyone the same basic respect; their actions can cause me to lose respect for them.

    But at the same time, other actions can increase the amount of admiration, trust or confidence that I place in a person. Do a job right, you earn more trust that you can do a harder job.

    Hope that makes sense.

    1. It makes perfect sense, and I certainly agree that actions on their part can make me, in my human nature, lose respect for them.

      I guess what I'm arguing is that regardless of what we FEEL for them, we still have to show them respect.

      It's like the old saying that "love is a verb, not a feeling". I think the same applies to respect.