Fresh Manna© by Pastor Tim Burt
Romans 13:7 (NIV) “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
I believe that most everyone would agree that the giving of and showing of respect to your spouse, your children, your friends, to your boss, and co-workers – to those in authority and basically to all people is critical to the human and Christian experience. As Christians we should give and show respect without prejudice. People are to receive and give respect to one another even when they disagree with their opinion, choices, or lifestyles. No one respects an outright evil person. But, putting that aside, people do not have to agree or condone wrong behaviors of people, but they should respect every human being as someone created by God. It’s for this very reason that the judicial system works to give everyone the same equal rights regardless of gender, color of skin, or one’s economic condition.
When it comes to the Bible and the translation from the Greek to English, many different Greek words are translated as “respect,” in English. 1 Thes. 5:12 (NIV) says, “Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.” The word “respect” in this verse comes from a Greek word meaning “to know or have a right perception of another.” It means you don’t prejudge people. It implies getting to know and understand the good in those around you. In this verse it especially implies getting to know and appreciate what those in authority over you and the hard work it takes to supply leadership.
Ephes. 5:33 (NIV) says, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself…” In applying this command to give respect to my wife, I think a great deal about Renee. Respecting her is knowing her. I have always tried not to take her for granted but see and appreciate the multitude of things she does for me and the family. It seems as though there is endless tasks that she is always working on for the kids and myself. She has chosen to do them out of love for us and she does them with an awesome attitude. Through our seasons of life together, Renee has continually adapted to doing new things for me, the children, the house, and in serving others through ministry. She had done so with an incredible attitude. I have taken the time to notice and appreciate what she does her which only elevates the high respect I have for her. Looking for and knowing people for the good they do takes effort but also elevates the respect you feel for them. Your having, feeling and communicating respect to someone, only fuels their fire and helps them to do even better!
This verse continues saying, Ephes. 5:33 “…and the wife must respect her husband.” Again in this verse the word respect is used. It comes from a Greek word meaning to be frightened, alarmed, or even to be in awe of. It also carries the meaning to greatly revere or reverence. Obviously God is not suggesting that a wife should be afraid of her husband. That should only happen when a husband is abusing her and if that is the case, she should have already left the home and not returned until and if he has gotten help and stopped the abusive behavior. Fear is of the devil and God wants us to walk in peace. He does not want anyone to be controlled by intimidation.
Respect in this verse has everything to do with holding the husband up in respect and with the wife working in her role as a “helpmate” or helper, to help him walk a life worthy of respect. I know at this point, this is tough to take for many women. They feel they don’t and can’t respect their husbands for many reasons. The question comes “What came first the chicken or the egg – What comes first, my husband earning respect or me as his wife giving it.” My answer is “the egg comes first” – you giving respect. The fact is, if you married him, you should have seen things in him that you did respect that were real and worthy of respect. If other things became clear to you that were not worthy of respect that diminished the respect that you give him over all, that should not have happened. You have every right to appropriately communicate what is not respectable, but you are also to show and treat your husband with that reverence and respect that God commands to give. If this is done sincerely and in love with kindness and with encouragement instead of nagging – your respect (your godly and appropriate reverence) of him will change the kind of man he becomes. You hold that power to help him. The Holy Spirit will help teach and develop you in it despite his shortcomings. You have shortcomings also. As you walk this out by faith, your emotions will always follow right actions from a right attitude.
Everywhere I go, I speak to people with “Yes Sir and Yes Maam.” I treat my server in a restaurant with great respect. I treat the bellman and the cashier with great respect in how I address them and with appreciation for what they do. I especially do that with my wife and children. It has nothing to do with what I think they deserve. They deserve my respect with politeness, appreciation, and manners period.
Too often we think we should give honor and respect only when we feel that someone deserves it. No, that is shallow and would be dependent in our knowing someone well enough and making judgments about what they deserve. The egg comes first. We give respect – strong and flowing honor and respect to all. When we do, consistently, always, and to all, we will see God’s power in it operating and coming back to us in our lives.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2007 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.