Respect (Part 1)
Respect seems like a good word to think about today and tomorrow. Respect for God, ourselves and others. Did you know that the Holy Spirit can and does help us show respect, kindness and love to all people?
Christ said in Luke 6:27-31, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you... Do to others as you would have them do to you."
There is a story written by Martin De Haan that goes something like this: "I was cruising along on the highway at about 60 miles an hour when up ahead I saw two sparrows in a fierce battle at the side of the road. With feathers flying, they attacked each other with great fury.
As my car approached, they became locked in combat. Together they rose in the air and fluttered blindly into the path of the car. With a violent thud they smashed against the windshield, leaving a smear of blood and feathers. They were so preoccupied with their battle that they were blind to more serious dangers. Their quarrel cost them their lives.
How often do we act like those two sparrows! Why is it that we fail to realize that when we fight no one ever wins? Both of us will become losers. We carry feelings of resentment, and our annoyances get completely blown out of proportion. Think back to the sparrows. Is whatever we are fighting about with dying for? Most of the things we get caught up in arguing about are not."
It is a lesson we should learn every time we walk down this path. We should forget our grievances, be ready to forgive, and admit it when we are wrong. We should be asking the Holy Spirit in us "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (vv.22-23).
When we lash out at others, we are certain to injure ourselves. We have to learn to be bigger than the problems we are facing. Paul, in fact says just that, "Be bigger than any problem by not allowing yourself to be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Rom. 12:21)
The Holy Spirit is with us to help us build mutual respect for each other when we trust Him to help us focus on the strengths that other people possess rather than their weaknesses. God has given each of us special strengths, abilities, and gifts which are unique to us. Rather than focusing our attention on what other people lack, we must trust in the Lord to help us highlight their God given positive qualities. Quoting Paul again..."Think about things that are pure and lovely, dwell on the fine and good things in others, think about all the things you have to praise God for and be glad about." (Phil. 4:8)
What's the life application for this? We should stand aside from our anger and ask the Lord to help us make a choice to speak to one another about positive strengths rather than the things that might irritate us.
The Holy Spirit can help us build respect when we seek to be reconciled to anyone who refuses to communicate in love with us. Jesus said, "If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." (Matt. 5:23)
(originally posted 3/30/11)