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What Are Ways We Can Respect Others?

Two campers hugging

Walt shares wise words with us regarding the whys and the hows of respecting others. It’s such good stuff! Let’s pick out something we can do and share with our kids today.

Scripture

“The second [greatest commandment] is this: Love your neighbor as yourself…” 

Mark 12:31

Reflect

Great poetry has the ability to quickly take the listener or reader to an insightful place. So, as the poet, Otis Redding, wrote: “What you want, baby I got; And what you need, you know that I’ve got it; All I’m askin for is a little respect”. Do you hear Aretha Franklin singing?

What is it about respect given, or disrespect experienced, that can be so life giving or deflating?

I love the expanded thoughts of Ephesians 5:33 in the Amplified Bible. “However, each man among you [without exception] is to love his wife as his very own self [with behavior worthy of respect and esteem, always seeking the best for her with an attitude of lovingkindness], and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear].”

The expansion of what respect includes is a challenging list: notice others; prefer others; treat others with loving concern; treasure others; honor others; and hold others dear! But, how can this great list be applied to respecting others properly?

  1. Respect others publicly. Public words of praise and admiration; “gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Prov. 16:24) I was recently in a setting where the leader publicly praised an individual present in front of a group of over 20 peers. You could almost see the one being affirmed “grow” in front of the group.
  2. Respect others practically. Ask them what words and actions cause them to feel respected. Do they want to be noticed with thoughtful words verbally spoken or written notes? What speaks loving concern to their heart? One suggestion on becoming better at practically respecting others is to take the 5 Love Languages official assessment to discover their love language and begin improving your relationships at www.5lovelanguages.com. Learn better how to show others loving concern in ways which fill their “love tank”.
  3. Respect others spiritually. Honor and encourage individuals’ commitment to the Lord and His leading in their life. Recently my wife and I were meeting with over forty mothers of preschoolers. Two troubling items stood out to us afterwards. These women were working so very hard to be great moms, and they were exhausted! Directly related to this, they also expressed great confusion and angst over what was expected of them by other important people in their lives. When the most important people in our lives (spouses, close friends, parents) all treasure an individual’s focus on loving God well, and loving others well (Mark 12:30-31) this clarifies what is truly honorable and worthy of great focus!

Respect others for the right reasons like godly character, consistent work ethic and generosity. In a world where many people respect and value external qualities of physical appearance and athletic achievement focus instead on the eternal aspects of others and value those qualities for lasting impact.

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