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Demanding Respect? Why Not Earn It?

On Monday night, September 11, 2017 an NFL game was played between the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers. Attention quickly turned from the players on the field to the sports commentators. In the broadcasting booth, Beth Mowins was the first women to call a regular season NFL game in 30 years. Down on the sideline was 29 year old reporter Sergio Dipp, who brought not only his budding talent to the stadium, but a social, political, and personal agenda. More than anything else Sergio Dipp wanted respect. This fact was revealed in his taped apology following the game on Monday night. Sergio wanted respect for himself, and for the two opposing head coaches. As a Mexican American, Sergio Dipp demanded respect, and that is where things went wrong. With some very inappropriate comments Mr. Dipp made the televised moment about himself, and not the teams on the field.

Like millions of other young men, Sergio Dipp has grown up in a culture thinking that respect can be demanded. What this means, on a practical basis, is that if someone says something that is perceived to be offensive, if someone even looks in a non-approving manner, if someone fails to respond immediately to a clever or profound comment, then there is freedom for that person to be shamed, verbally abused, or physically assaulted. All this is done because an individual says, “I will not be disrespected.”

Considering this topic of respect from a Christian point of view, the following observations can be made. First, the people of God are to be respectful to the LORD. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deut. 6:4-5)

Second, the people of God are to be respectful of others. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Phil. 2:3) The word respect is used in the sense of honor, and preference being extended. Respect means that a proper place will be given to the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of others. Christians show respect by listening carefully to what others are saying, and responding without sarcasm, mockery, or demeaning language.

Third, Christian parents are to teach their children to be respectful. Young people are to be taught to esteem their elders. “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.” (Lev. 19:32) Young people are to honor their parents. “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)” (Eph. 6:2)

Fourth, the people of God are to respect those in authority. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Rom. 13:1) American journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson noted, “We cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws.”

Fifth, the people of God are to respect their spouses. Husbands are to love their wives. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” (Eph. 5:25) And let “the wives see that she reverence her husband.” (Eph. 5:33) A wife will be more inclined to respect and reverence her husband when he is not controlling every dollar spent, manipulative of every place the wife wants to go, demanding an account for every statement made, critical of every action taken, judgmental of every thought expressed, and constantly correcting her in public and in private. A wife will esteem her husband when he stops thinking of himself as a benevolent dictator who needs to correct his wife for her own good. All such a man is doing is creating a reservoir of deep and abiding anger. One day the wife will explode in open rebellion and hostility. And the arrogant benevolent dictator will wonder why his wife is so unhappy and angry, since he has been very good to her, in his own mind. Let a man show tender courtesy, and the woman will show her deep appreciation. “I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, ‘Please — a little less love, and a little more common decency’.” (Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!)

Here, then, is good counsel for individuals who are demanding respect, and who are determined they will not be disrespected, which, by the way, involves a highly subjective interpretation of others, and is rooted in inappropriate pride.

First, use with affection the proper name of those with whom you are in contact. People love to hear their own name being used. It shows you care. Do not engage in demeaning name calling. Others may laugh, but it hurts.

Second, express sincere gratitude for what others say and do on your behalf. Do not take others for granted, even if they are being paid for services rendered.

Third, do more listening than talking. Encourage others to share. Every life is a biography. Let others talk about themselves.

Fourth, be authentically interested in what others have to say. Show you care by carrying on a conversation. This will stop unworthy diatribes which are nothing more than venting of a person’s own anger and frustration. Engaging another person in a conversation will also avoid monologues which tend to be eloquent, and stupid, as Seggio Dipp can testify to.

Earn respect as by doing good to others, and saying something worth remembering.. Do not demand respect. Jesus has earned the love, honor, and respect of countless souls because He humbled Himself, and died for others. Today, Jesus invites people to follow Him. Follow Jesus in servitude. Follow Jesus in humility. Follow Jesus to Calvary. Then respect will be earned and one day the Father will say, “Well done. Enter into my kingdom.”

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