In 1967 Aretha Franklin belted out a song, written by Otis Redding, which asked for a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T, “All I’m askin’ you is for a little respect when you get home!” The Founding Fathers of our nation, in the Declaration of Independence stated, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
We should be able to expect respect from our fellow-man, each and every one of us. When we infringe on each other’s rights to be happy, we are very wrong. How can we forgive a terrible infringement on our person, and do we need to do that? I spoke with a person who took pity on the person that stole their virginity, in a brutal way, at the early age of six. The abuse continued for years without any recourse of action on the victims’ part. When this person learned the perpetrator, and horror of their young, life was suffering from a stroke, and had been placed in a facility for indigent, a place where, they were basically, just put in a bed, and left to rot in their own feces, they were taken out of that place and put in a rehab home with nurses, which fed, cleaned and cared for their every need. I just received a call that this person would not live through the night. The person, so violated, had spoken to them and led them in the sinner’s prayer. With this act there was forgiveness, not just a flesh kind, but also a love that only God can give. To me, that is showing ultimate respect for another human and divine forgiveness. I’m not sure I could have done the same in this situation.
The dictionary defines respect as meaning admiration, high opinion, esteem, value, reverence and regard. The opposite is disrespect, disregard, and contempt. In the Bible, the phrase is often used, “Fear God”, when you know the meaning of “fear” in that particular sense, it means, “respect God”. God is love; His command is for us to love one another, that means showing proper respect. I was asked to offer an explanation of “Respecter of men”, here it is: Since we know that God made us in His own image, it means He wants us to be like Him, right? As I already mentioned, He is love, so we should show love, but does He show respect to us? Romans 2:9 For there is no respect of persons with God. 2:9-11 in the Message translation explains it this way: “If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval.
God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind. Acts 10:34 Peter fairly exploded with his good news: “It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open. Then Peter said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.
When we were kids we used to chant “Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, Doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief, Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor.” God is no respecter of persons, honoring one person more than another because of his wealth or occupation, He loves you, just the way you are. It’s not what we do, but whom we are that earns respect in the eyes of man; with God, we’re just His children and He loves us all the same!