Exodus 20:12 “Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
Our parents/guardians matter. Whoever brought you up, however massive their failures may have been they need to be respected. Failure to respect our parents, whether they are believers or not, is an active disobedience that is a denial of our gospel faith. This is what the fifth commandment effectively teaches us.
The apostle Paul reflects this in his writing to Timothy when he says: 1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
As followers of Christ, we should respect all people, other Christians, God and governmental authorities.
The Myth – The more you have, the more respect you will have. Image is everything. This is not true it’s about how God sees us, about how we develop Godly character, how we live lives pleasing to God, how we develop our hearts
The word respect is a translation a Greek word meaning “honour or value.” It literally means ‘to place a great value or high price on something.’
Matthew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Interestingly, today we tend to place our values on our personal rights and the equality of humanity. However, biblical respect is far different.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Honour or respect is the greatest characteristic of all because respect comes from the heart. Respect is the highest positive affirmation we can give to each other. Gods law and the gospel are given to teach and empower us to give respect where it’s due. It’s not easy but it is essential.
And it’s not just in the home where this fifth commandment must be heard and obeyed. The commandment has a reach far beyond the home for our discipleship to follow. Wherever there is God-given authority in the home, society and church, it’s there that God expects us to work out respect.
Read: Romans 13:1-7
Most of us have quickly learned that respect is slow to come by. We fret over what people think about us, about our lifestyle, about our values. We get down/discouraged over the smallest signs of disrespect (real or imagined) and obsess over whether people really like us. Our social media connected world, has done nothing to alleviate our already exagerated insecurities.
Instead of waiting to be respected (which is never taught in the Bible), we need to work out how to give honour to people as we should. Honour such people, that is the way we obey the fifth commandment. Be grateful to God for our spiritual parents, guides and ministry mentors. Learn from them, both from what they say and from how they say it.
Honour the Saints who are regularly in our lives too. The best and most Godly Saints seek out others who share their calling. There’s no competition or fighting for attention. Godly saints serve each other with support and advice, when requested.
The church exists in a secular environment of disrespect. Backbiting, disloyalty and worse or the everyday hazards of our workplaces. When we come to church, we must discover the freedom and peace of being in an utterly different culture. Respect and honour must be the tone of all relationships in the body of Christ.
How do we earn the respect of others?
The way to earn respect is not about being perfect, it’s about being open, real and humble. (Not a formula)
Serve with Intensity – Proverbs 27:21 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold and a man is tested by his praise. Jesus was a servant and we always need to be in that place that where ever God leads we will go.
Speak with Integrity Proverbs 17:7 Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a prince. In our culture there are no absolutes, there is no right or wrong but there is with God, there are no grey areas with God. Jesus was truth personified John 14:6 I am the way the truth and the life.
Give Generously Psalm 112:9 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor.
Live humbly Proverbs 29:23 One’s pride will bring him low but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honour.
Students of Jesus are to be a people of order and discipline, of righteousness and justice. We are to be dynamic examples of love and peace so that others may be won to Christ and be saved for eternity Matthew 5:14–16. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Part of living as examples of Christ before the watching world is showing respect to others.
As Saints in Christ we must work out how to honour others, whether they are believers or not. As we honour those in authority, we will find it easier to honour those with no authority. As we do this, our discovery will be that Jesus has done just the same before us. The one who always honoured his parents gave Himself for the prostitute and tax collector.
That is obedience to the fifth commandment. It will take us to the most costly places. It will honour God, though and many will be blessed and encouraged by our obedience.