Summary: Where has the respect gone for God's called? What must a person do to acquire respect?
Let’s talk about respect tonight. As the comic, Rodney Dangerfield, proclaimed for decades: "I don’t get any respect!" There may be times in your life you feel like Mr. Dangerfield. You may not get the personal respect you think you deserve or you may feel your opinions or choices are not respected.
When I started here as pastor, the new kid on the block, still in seminary, I felt there were times when I got no respect. One of the obvious areas of disrespect was when we had potluck dinners. I work just as hard on preparing a message for that event as I do for any worship service.
But when it came time for me to present the message, I couldn’t get the people to quiet down to listen. Seriously, they would not only talk when I said we needed to get started, they carried on conversations DURING the devotional. This is when we used to have potlucks every month. So for almost a year, we cancelled ALL potlucks until finally we started having them every 5th Wednesday.
Then they were so excited that we were having them again, I couldn’t get them quiet just like before. NO RESPECT. In fact, there were several potlucks I just didn’t show up. It was a waste of my time. And you know what? Many of the rowdy ones never missed me not being there.
So the disrespect was obvious among many. The situation can easily escalate into a confrontation when we attempt to make our feelings known. The problem arises when we expect the other person to give us the respect 'we think' we should have. That is when we need to understand that the other person probably doesn’t have the need or desire to respect us.
It may not be us. It may be they have no respect for anyone or any situation. Dr. George Harris, former pastor of Castle Hills BC wrote, “this all began when our government allowed prayers to be removed from our schools. Yes ma'am, no ma'am, yes sir, no sir, the Ten Commandments and the common courtesies we once took for granted have gone out the window with most.”
If you expect respect, go overboard to respect the other person. Teach them through example. It may be very evident that no one else bothered to teach them the basics of common courtesy and respect. Our children and many of our youth of today have never been taught this issue of respect.
In the Old Testament, GOD commanded HIS people to respect HIM and to show respect to those in authority. JESUS continued this teaching in the New Testament. His disciples continued these teachings of respect in over half the books of the New Testament.
Just as our Bibles teach us to respect others, we need to teach others respect with a capital R. We don't need a little respect in our world. We need a major amount of respect. Don't turn your back on those who need your help. Teach them the respect you feel you need. When they feel respected, there is a greater chance of them learning to respect you and others.
At age twenty-six, Pat Moore performed an unbelievable experiment. An industrial designer, Moore wanted a better understanding of senior adults, so for three years she frequently disguised herself as an eighty-five-year-old woman. From 1979 to 1981, she utilized the skills of a professional makeup artist and visited 116 cities throughout fourteen states and two Canadian provinces in her elderly persona.
From her experience, Moore estimates that one of every 25 senior adults is abused, with most victims being 75 or older. She was impressed with the compassion and care she received from senior adults when she was in character, but she received harsh treatment from younger generations. Unfortunately, society has widely accepted a practice called “social dismissal” of the elderly.
Author, John Kehoe wrote an article called Authentic Relationships. I quote, “I have a good friend who is the most authentic person I know. People love being around her because she is so real, with no pretense. She makes everyone feel special, not in a phony way; she makes them feel special because she is genuinely interested in them.
She values people. She values relationships, knowing that even the most casual relationship, a moment with a stranger, has the potential to gift them and us in some way. And so she lives her life day-by-day, moment-by-moment open, honest and receptive to others. It sounds simple but it’s actually revolutionary, given that most of us approach others with an agenda of our own.
“Do you value relationships? Are you willing to be authentic yourself in order to have authentic relationships? Are you prepared to change, grow, open your heart and show yourself to others? Unless you can answer yes to all three questions, it’s futile to hope for authentic relationships with others.”