The word respect means having an esteem of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability. Something considered as a manifestation of an ability or quality is another definition. Another meaning is the condition of being esteemed or honored. From a young age we are taught to respect our parents, others and those in authority. If we give our parents and authority figures respect, how much more respect should we give to our blessed Lord?

Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:3

Leaders in the church must prove themselves to be worthy of respect.

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)1 Timothy 3:2-5

It is easy to look up to someone when they have wealth or a position. We should have respect for others regardless of their position or wealth. That person may be our neighbor, classmate, co-worker or relative. When we have respect for others as God wants us to have, we will also respect their possessions. We will care for their possessions as if they were our own. Should the person be a Christian, they have something far better, they have the love of God.

Then Peter opened his mouth and said: " In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality" Acts 10:34

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. James 2:8-9

Those in positions of authority need to be respected. We might not agree with them, but we need to respect them. The only time when we are not to follow any form of authority is when it is conflicting with the word of God.

An example of disrespect being shown to the Lord is found in the story of Nadab and Abihu, Aaron's sons. They offered unauthorized fire to the Lord together and got in trouble together.

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’”Leviticus 10:1-3

When we treat God's justice and holiness indifferently, we are in danger of following their pattern. It is so serious when we serve the Lord. How careful we need to be for fear we may fall.

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12

David as a young man played for King Saul to soothe the king's troubled mind. Saul was very jealous of David and tried repeatedly to have him killed.We read that David had great respect for Saul, even though Saul was trying to kill him. If he killed Saul, he would be making an example for others to do the same to him one day.

Now it happened afterward that David's heart troubled him because he had cut Saul's robe.
And he said to his men, " The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord's anointed,
to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord."
1 Samuel 24:5-6

We read in Romans 13:1-7 that God has set up governments and authorities. Some may ask why the positions are filled as they are, we are to highly esteem all authority figures. We are to respect the positions and the purposes of those to whom God has given authority. There is one exception to the rule, since God is our supreme authority, we should never permit any leader to force us to transgress God's law.

The word hallow means to honor, to sanctify, or to make holy. Our blessed Lord tells us in the model prayer how we should address the Lord God. In Matthew 6:9-13, we read the model prayer.

We have an Awesome God. When we approach the Lord, it should not be done lightly, showing a lack of respect. Our approach needs to be that of reverence, as we convey our unworthiness before Him. He is our Supreme Lord as He is our friend. It might be essential for us to alter our attitude for it to be appropriate as we approach our Merciful God.

Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. Psalm 33:8

He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name.
Psalm 111:9

Our magnificent Lord has created this world in which we live. It saddens me when I hear and see people disrespect the Lord God Almighty. This disrespect is done with speech and actions.

When Moses showed reverence to the Lord, he removed his sandals and covered his face.

Then He said, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground." Moreover He said, "I am the God of your father--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. " And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. Exodus 3:5-6

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king1 Peter 2:17

Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’ To silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, Yet in it there is no breath at all. “ But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”
Habakkuk 2:19-20

Discussion and study questions:
1. Who is worthy of great respect?
2. How are we to treat others' possessions?
3. Where are we told to respect our parents?
4. How are we to act toward others?
5. What are we told to feel toward authority?
6. How should we approach God?

Copyright 2008 Linda Lawrence