“Treat people as they should be treated…respect is what allows us to appreciate the best in other people. Respect is trusting that all people have done their jobs and fulfilled their duty…and self-respect is a vital ingredient [of] the…value of respect, which results from knowing you have put forth your best effort.”
— United States Army
The third Army value is respect. This value is important to not just Christians, but to every individual. It is vital that we keep this value in our minds as we go throughout our daily lives. Jesus Christ Himself spoke about the Golden Rule, teaching us the value of respect. This very important rule can be found in Matthew 7:27 (ESV) as it reads, “So whatever you wish that others do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Reading the Army’s definition of respect, there are key aspects that stand out to me.
“Treat people as they should be treated…”
In the introduction to this series (read here), I defined the value respect by quoting the Army’s definition of the value. This is the same value that I learned while in training. In my brief time in both the military and in similar organizations, such as ROTC, I learned to respect everyone no matter what. Everyone is a human being and with that comes certain rights that God has given us. For that, we must respect each person we meet.
So how exactly are others supposed to be treated? The Bible has all the answers to that. Ephesians 4:32 (ESV) says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” In 1 John 4:20 (ESV) it reads, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” And again in Luke 6:27-28, 31 (ESV) it reads, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you…as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” To our brothers and sisters we are to love, and not hate. To our enemies we are to love, bless, and pray for them. To everyone we are to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.
In my previous post (read here), I joked about how we tend to love ourselves a lot. Here we are called to treat everyone we encounter, from those we love to those we don’t know to even those we hate, as how we would treat ourselves. Now, I will get into more of loving ourselves later, but here it tells us how to treat others. Think about it for just a moment. How do we want to be treated? I hope that most of you respond with love, not hate…with blessings and prayer…with kindness, tender hearts, and forgiveness. Well this is exactly how we should treat others. Summed up in a single, powerful word: respect.
“… Respect is what allows us to appreciate the best in other people…”
When we respect others and others respect us, it truly helps us appreciate the best in people. There are countless times where acts of respect have truly brightened my day. Then there are times where I am shown disrespect and it just makes my day turn bad and sets me on fire with anger. When you respect someone and they respect you back, you see who they are at their best. Its quite incredible what the value of respect can bring about.
In the military, there is a chain of command. When a sergeant tells me to do something, I do it. Why? Because of respect. I treated that sergeant, who gave me the order, as he should have. But do we respect God and His calling for our lives? Do we treat God as He should be treated? Often times we are called to do certain things. Sometimes we might not like it, but it isn’t our will, but His will that’ll be done. When Jesus is teaching about prayer, He says in Matthew 6:10 (ESV), “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” When God calls, do we answer or do we stand back in doubt? Sometimes I think we just sit, waiting to hear physical words come down from the sky. Instead we have to rely on the Holy Spirit, which can give us a unique stirring within our hearts to do something. The enemy tries to stop us with doubt, and sometimes it unfortunately works, but we need to respect God and His will. We need to treat God as He should be treated.
“… And self-respect is a vital ingredient [of] the… value of respect, which results from knowing you have put forth your best effort.”
Not only do we need to respect our brothers, sisters, enemies, strangers, and God, but we need to respect ourselves as well. Self-respect is crucial to this value. How can we respect others if we can’t even respect ourselves. So, how do we respect ourselves? When we put forth our best efforts, we have good self-respect.
We need to go throughout life doing our best. I know, even I fail at this time after time again. We tend to get complacent and that leads to nothing good. In training, we would get punished by ‘getting complacent.’ We were expected to try our best at everything we did.
Think about this for a moment. If you went and tried your best at everything you did, even if it meant failure, would your day be any different? In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul tells Timothy to, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of Truth.” This is what it means to have self-respect: to do your best in all that Christ calls us to do, to have no need of shame, and to be fully equipped with the Word of God.
If you have been reading my previous posts, you know that my goal is that you will walk away from reading this post wanting to change. However, there is a saying that I would tell some of my friends who had an issue with something they cared about: Stop complaining about it…stop running from it…if you see an issue, fix it. So, please go about your day with this on your mind. Pay extra attention to the things you do or say.
May we all treat our brother and sisters with the love they deserve rather than hate. May we love, bless, and pray for our enemies. May we greet everyone we see with kindness, a tinder heart, and forgiveness. May we appreciate the best in others. May we respect God and his callings on our lives. May we respect ourselves and put forth our greatest efforts. Finally, may we all go about our lives with loyalty, duty, and respect in our conscious minds.