It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.
─CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Respect Reflection Verse:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
Day 1: Everyone is Someone for Whom Christ Died
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. …” –Jesus
John 3:16-17 ESV
I remember running into a worldview wall when it came to respecting the life of every human being and God’s sovereign rule in salvation when it comes to justice and judgment.
There are those who have done horrendous unspeakable things to others. And I wrestled with God’s call to forgive. Then I realized what it meant to forgive, what it cost Him to forgive. I asked myself: Am I OK with Jesus paying the price for someone’s sins, who I see as unforgivable and irredeemable?
To forgive is to respect Jesus’s gift of salvation to whoever the Father chooses, and the person’s right to receive it, no matter what they’ve done or what I think about them.
This truth caused me to see myself and others in a different light. The light of His glorious grace.
I’m not sure when I realized it. The idea of sin being sin no matter how I saw it. Some preacher or teacher said the words, There are no sin rankings, no small or large sin. No sin which required Jesus to do more than He already did.
Jesus died to cover the white lie I told yesterday and the murder the prisoner committed some years back. Neither sin needed more redemption, more bloodshed, more death from the One who hung on the cross. Sin is sin. Whether I viewed it as not so bad or horrendously evil, His death was required for redemption.
My husband and I saw him recently. Someone we know caught up in a drug addiction. I barely recognized him… thin, dirty, unkept. He stood with his friends visibly wired and I was overcome with sorrow. He doesn’t know. He has no idea of the sacrifice made for him or the possibility of freedom. I wanted to whisper as I walked by, Jesus loves you… right now in your drug-induced high… dirty and unkept… the Savior loves you.
This truth has done a work in me. Where judgment once ruled, now I find sorrow and a call to pray.
respect – noun… 1: a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation… 2: an act of giving particular attention: consideration 3 a: high or special regard: esteem b: the quality or state of being esteemed…
—Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Ed.
There are two aspects to the definition of respect. The first considers the way we relate to another, the reference we use in our attitude and behavior toward them. The second definition of respect is seeing someone as better than ourselves, we esteem them, see them as worthy of high regard. God has something to say on both facets of respect when it comes to loving others and relating to one another.
Read Ephesians 2:1-3
What were we once? How did we live? Who did we follow?
We are all sinners (Romans 3:23). Each of us only worthy of God’s wrath, not His mercy, not His love, not His grace. God’s Word calls us to consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4) because we all come from the same broken mold. We should first relate to one another with respect to sin.
Read Ephesians 2:4-10
But what did God do? Why?
Not only are we all sinners, but God loves us enough to die for us. God so loved the world He sent His only Son, not to condemn, but to save. Our respect for others, saved and unsaved, finds its basis in God’s love. He believes all are worth dying for. Anyone whom God deems worth dying for deserves our respect.
Based on our own merit, we deserve nothing but death. Only God’s grace equips us for good work and enables us to love others. How does this truth make you see yourself with respect to others?
There is no room for boasting (Ephesians 2:8-9), seeing yourself as more highly esteemed than others. We boast to show ourselves as better with respect to others. It is disrespectful to brag about our own accomplishments or character. Disrespectful to God and to those we boast.
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy to all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
─Titus 3:1-7 ESV
Note the phrase “show perfect courtesy to all” in the above passage.
Show perfect courtesy to all. Respect all. Because we too were once foolish, blind, hateful sinners living only for self. Until. His goodness and grace, love and mercy, busted into our lives, washed us clean and made us new.
We are not to dis-respect anyone, because apart from the grace of God we are just like them. We have nothing in and of ourselves worth lifting up over another. We should see ourselves in their place, relating to them with an understanding of what it is to be lost.
Everyone is someone for whom Christ died. This is the basis of respecting everyone and the foundation of loving them.
Talk It Out
Talk it over with yourself:
Who do you find it hard to respect? Why?
Can you see them as someone for whom Christ died? Does this change your perspective?
Talk it over with God:
You too were one who only deserved God’s wrath, but He gave you mercy because of His great love for you. Thank Him for His love and saving grace. Ask Him to bless you with His love for others.
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh.
2Corinthians 5:14-16 ESV
Work Out Your Faith
Today, every time you consider someone less than yourself, take the judgmental thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. Pray:
Lord, this is someone for whom You died. Reveal Your great love for them today.
Reflection Scripture: Memorize
This week reflect on Scripture through memorization. Memory prompts are given daily. Use whatever technique helps you memorize. Write it on a notecard and carry it around with you or put it in a place you see it often. Rewrite the verses over and over. You may also want to check out ScriptureTyper.com. Choose the way you best learn. Just remember to allow His Word to work in your heart as you memorize.
Do _____________ out of selfish ambition or vain ________________. Rather, in ____________________ value others above ____________________, not looking to your own _________________ but each of you to the interests of the ___________. Philippians 2:3-4