By Pastor Tim Burt
If there was ever a tool that would transform and help develop a part of your character, it’s learning to develop an attitude of respect for people and learning to honor authority.
Learning to show each and every individual respect is all about seeing value in them and understanding that their life has meaning and significance. Deep down you know that God made every person to be treated with respect (whether it appears so or not.) And for those in authority, it doesn’t stop at respect—we are called to esteem and honor them. Most people know how to do that and will do so to some degree if they feel the person is in a high enough office. But showing respect and honoring authority goes beyond the president of the company you work for or the Police Chief or the Governor of your state.
God wants us to show respect to every person as though each person were walking in some significant “office” because they are. Their office is their God-given role they are walking today whether it appears significant to you or not. Their life and office is significant to God.
Oh, I am just like you. I can too often and too easily be rubbed the wrong way by a person. I can look and quickly see negative things that make me want to treat a person with less respect. That is where I as a Christian have to back up and realize that they might not yet know Jesus. They may be clueless in understanding that they have been created for a God given purpose—that they have a role to serve the Lord in. Their personal lifestyle may be filled with sin and contrary to everything I believe in. That would have the potential to tempt me not to respect someone. But, you see there was a time when I was the one who was lost. There was a time when I was clueless to whom Jesus really was. There was a time when I was an enemy through my thoughts, words, and deeds to God’s plan in this earth. There was a time when I was living like a reprobate and noted by some as not worthy of respect.
Phil 2:3-5 gives us instruction that makes respect for all possible. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…”
Authority is the other word of significance I mentioned that Jesus spoke of in Luke 6:46. “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” The Greek word for “Lord,” brings implies the definition of respect and authority. It means supreme in authority and implies showing respect to the office. Those of Jesus’ day were just like the people of today. They threw words around loosely and carelessly. The words they used didn’t carry the meaning they were supposed to. So Jesus said, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” He was saying to them, “Why do you give me the title of supreme in authority and the title of one who is in the most significant office, but you do listen to what I say?”
The world may have lost the value of showing respect and honoring authority but that doesn’t mean you should. You won’t learn this from the media except to disrespect people and authority. Jesus said, “If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to mature in your godly character, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:46-48“
Learning to show respect and honor authority will change you. It will develop godly character within you and lead you to walk in greater love and warmth shining brighter as a Christian in a dark and cold world.
In His love,
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2010 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.