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 fellowman, 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 man who brutally raped her at the tender age of six. The abuse continued for years because of fear as he promised her he would kill her if she told, so there was no recourse for this little victim. When she learned the perpetrator of so much horror in her young life was suffering from a stroke and had been placed in a facility for indigent people, a place where they are basically just put in a bed and left to rot in their own feces, had him removed from that place and taken to a rehab home with nurses which fed, cleaned and cared for his every need. When she got the call that this person would not live through the night, having been so violated, had spoken to him and led him 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”, the meaning of “fear” in that particular sense 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 KJV “For there is no respect of persons with God.” 2:9-11 (Message) “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. KJV says, “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.” No matter who you are, He 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, redundant but true!