Thursday, June 12, 2008

it's all about respect

Respect and how to show respect is desperately needed to be understood and practiced today – especially in my Western culture and particularly among women.

It’s only been within the past seven or eight years that I started to understand how much I didn’t understand that my husband, Michael, needed me to show him respect. I’d had the attitude that he needed to earn my respect until one day I saw that God said (Ephesians 5) that a husband is to be given respect.

The light bulb went on. The thing that I was doing was making him earn my respect. I was wrong and did some damage that I've repaired.

For those of you that don't understand what this is about keep reading what my pastor husband has written.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline… The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom… His (God’s) intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms according to His eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." This fear – healthy reverence - is a clean, a pure fear, enduring forever, full of life and beauty, and joy and love. (Prov. 1:7; 9:10; Eph. 3:10,11).

"What" or "who" are we "fearing?" We’re fearing God by…
…being careful that we don’t violate a person whom He has positioned; disrespecting delegated authority is disrespecting God (Rom. 13:1-9).

…being careful not to violate the will of a person. God is saying, "This (person – whoever it is) is my Image Bearer – my treasure…you watch how you treat them, because I’m watching too." (James 3:9-11).

…being careful how we are telling His story (Eph. 3:10-12; 1 Pet. 1:12-17; 2 Cor. 5:9-11). It’s a fear of a loss of liberty, a clear conscience, the joy of pleasing the Lord, His approval (instead, discipline), of a display of His story, a loss of His joy in rewarding us with affirmation and a co-rulership position He desires to give us.

We are to "work out our salvation (this process of sanctification) with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us to will and to act according to His good purpose…" (Phil 2:12,13).

The question each believer needs to ask is this: "Where is this fear and trembling in my life? Do I consciously or unwittingly cross lines of respect without any regard for God’s word (whether I just take His Word lightly, or perhaps I’m just ignorant of it)?"

We all will answer to The Lord for how we’ve respected God’s Word, and how we’ve responded to those whom He has placed over us.

Observe the harsh rebuke that Jude gives to both the angels who have "left their posts" and men who reject authority and who have spoken freely against authorities in Jude 5-11.

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home-these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.

They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals-these are the very things that destroy them. Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.

There is a move of God today to restore families through respect (spouse & children at home, immediate family) Those who want to look at themselves as "a loving person", must give diligent work to the first order of business – and that is "respect".

Without this, we are just assuming that any and all of our actions are O.K. and that everybody else must adjust. What it will take to eliminate this destructive "assuming" will be clarity and boundaries. When there is a conflict, those who want to create arenas (issues of discussion) without boundaries really do not yet want to love. They only want to control. Sometimes boundaries are unspoken – and, if both people are being respected, boundaries don’t necessarily need to be spoken. Yet, if even one person sees the need to put up a boundary, then the other person needs to hear and respect that boundary.

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Praise and Coffee said...

Excellent post! I am going to share this in the Bible study I am doing with some ladies.

Norma said...

Well done. I loved it. Thanks for sharing. This is a must read.