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Showing Respect

Showing Respect
By Richard Nichols

Published in
The Christian Informer
January  2007

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The law of God is designed to create the highest degree of respect among those who live by it. The true obedient servant of God is courteous and respectful to everyone, especially to other Christians (1 Peter 3:8). When a man humbly bows in worship to Jehovah he is showing respect, but true respect and reverence toward his maker begins with love and a desire to serve Him. Disrespect among people begins with a disrespect for God and the things of God. When people show contempt for God and a disregard for His word, they may be expected to show disrespect in all things.
Our society is certainly not famous for the respect it shows, either for others, or for the things that deserve respect. For morals and decency, for schools, for the community, for the government, for old age, for the Lord's church and for all things right, there is little or no respect. It's time people wake up and start showing a proper regard for God, for the things of God, and for the law that he has given to govern the human race. When this is done, it will change the whole pattern of conduct among us.
God commanded that respect start in the home. The Scriptures say in Ephesians 5:33, “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” There would be a drastic change for the good in all society if this were put into practice. It is a well known fact that there has been a tremendous breakdown at this point and its impact is felt throughout the world.
God ordained that children be taught to show the proper respect for their parents. The Scriptures say, “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Hebrews 12:9). Where is the respect of parents today that is suggested in this passage of Scripture? Parents are preparing their children to be criminals when they fail to teach them that respect. When that respect is not shown, disrespect for all authority goes with it.
God intended for men to respect people of old age. He said, “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:32). What has happened to that respect? Men disrespect the law of God first and then men and women of old age. Many of the elderly today are neglected or abused. Some extremists would like to kill off the elderly, because it is a drain on the resources of the society. God commanded His people under the Law of Moses to respect older people.
God ordained that men respect the government whether we agree with all it does or not. He said, “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king” (1 Peter 2:17). The Amplified Version renders the first of this verse, “Show respect for all men-treat them honorably.” The majority of the rulers of past ages have been unscrupulous, self-indulgent men. Nevertheless, the civil government is ordained of God. Paul writes, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Romans 13:1-4). Since this is true, every respectable Christian must respect the government under which he lives.
The Lord expects us to obey and yield to the laws which men enact as long as they do not violate His laws. When the rulers commanded the apostles not to preach in the name of Jesus, Peter and John asked, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye” (Acts 4:18,19). Later they boldly stated, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). This principle Christians must live by.
Many passages of Scripture teach that God is no respecter of persons, therefore the theory of personal predestination or foreordination of individuals is utterly false. God did not choose some individuals to be born to eternal salvation and others to eternal damnation. There are some today who are teaching that somehow God will save Jews without Christ or that God will provide some special means for their salvation. These people are wrong! God," commands all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he h~th ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:30,31).
Being partial simply means that you bestow respect and honor on persons for no valid reason. Note these passages of Scriptures regarding the Lord's dealings with men. Romans 2:11 says, “For there is no respect of persons with God.” Colossians 3:25 tells us that when we all stand at the judgment seat of Christ we will be dealt with fairly, “he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Peter calls to record that the Father, “without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work” (1 Peter 1:17). Peter also states, “The Lord is not slack. .. but is longsuffering ... not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
If you and I act unfair in dealing with people we sin. In Ephesians 6:6 -8 “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters ... with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free." And then the apostle demands in verse 9, “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.”
In our daily activity the children of God are to be impartial. James commands, “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4). Then he states in verse 9, “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced [convicted] of the law as transgressors.”
Godly wisdom found in the true Christian is genuine and impartial. James continues to say, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:17,18). Even in the administration of the affairs of the church we must show respect to those who earn it.
Paul told Timothy that elders who rule well were to be counted worthy of double honor, and" Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear" (1 Timothy 5:19,20). Paul continues, “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure” (verses 21 and 22). Only men who were qualified as being “just” or “fair dealing” were to be considered for the office of an elder, and those who placed them there were to do so in an impartial, fair and just way, God's way.
Children of God are to respect each other for the position they hold. We are to show proper respect to everyone-police officers, employers, and government officials. In association with each other, Christians are to have brotherly love; they are to show respect by “preferring one another” or “giving precedence and showing honor to one another" (Amplified - Romans 12:10).
We have learned that we need to show respect to persons who occupy positions of authority and to all others to whom the Lord shows respect. When we learn to “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear,” respect will be shown for all.


From what I can tell, Mark Twain was not a Christian, nor did he claim to be when he began courting Olivia Langdon.  Back in Twain’s day, a man typically had to get permission from a woman’s parents before marrying her.  Mark Twain had a problem, however.  Olivia Langdon came from a professing Christian family that would not allow their daughter to marry an unbeliever.  To overcome this obstacle, Twain took on the guise of a spiritual seeker who needed the support and prayers of Olivia’s family in order to clean up his life. Twain, influenced by Olivia’s prodding, presumably converted. Twain wrote to his mother after his engagement to Olivia: “My prophecy was correct.…[Livy] said she never could or would love me–but she set herself the task of making a Christian of me. I said she would succeed, but that in the meantime she would unwittingly dig a matrimonial pit and end by tumbling in it–and lo! the prophecy is fulfilled.” Olivia’s family was convinced Twain was a Christian and permitted the marriage. But was Twain’s conversion an illusion?  One scholar insists that Twain “was a man in love, wooing a woman he hoped to marry. His ’religious’ feelings at that time, expressed in love letters to Olivia, disappeared as soon as the nuptials were over”
After their wedding, Twain ridiculed Olivia’s beliefs and devotion.  Soon Olivia’s optimism began to wane, and her fervent faith cooled.  Eventually she forsook her religion altogether, and a deep sorrow deluged Olivia’s life.  Mark Twain loved her and never meant to hurt her, but he had broken her spirit. He said, “Livy, if it comforts you to lean on your faith, do so.” She replied sadly, “I cannot. I do not have any faith left.”
Twain often wished he could restore Olivia’s faith, hope, and optimism, but it was too late.
Byron Harvey is an evangelical preacher. In preaching on this passage he offered this advice:Young people, never for any reason date an unbeliever, that is if you intend to have any seriousness about your walk with God.  Emotions will begin to cloud your judgment, overriding your common sense and your witness and in some ways your life will suffer ruin.  Wise Solomon couldn’t get away with it, and neither are you likely to.  If you plan to marry an unbeliever, don’t bother coming to ole Harvey to perform the ceremony; I’ll not, for the sake of friendship or whatever, join in the mocking of God’s standards. It is a tragic mistake!
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? ( 2 Corinthians 6: 14 )A Christian woman once  confessed that she married an unsaved man.  She said she didn’t wait long enough to get the Lord’s will in the matter.  Even the preacher of her church, who was a well known conference speaker, encouraged her to go through with the marriage.After she was married, her spouse brought his unsaved, drinking friends into the home and caused her a lot of grief.  Over 25 years later she stated, “we are still married but my husband is not yet saved.”In this tract the woman relates her bitter experience when she chose her own way and ignored God’s Word.  She said, “I expected he would walk with me in the ways of the Lord ... but I watched my husband going deeper in sinful living.”
Not mentioned is the fact that a yoke is a wooden bar or frame that joins two animals, such as oxen together.  Once they are joined, they cannot go in separate directions, but must work side by side.My question to you is this... Why do we sometimes spend more time preparing for a “wedding” than we do for a “marriage”?  Young people please take your time when choosing a mate and “count the cost.”  The most important decision you will ever make in your life is the decision to obey the gospel and become a Christian.  The second most important decision you will ever make is choosing a mate that will please God and help you make it to heaven.  Don’t play the “dating game” because there are no temporary relationships for Christians!  The decision you make not only affects you eternally, but it can also affect the church in the next generation. Will your children follow you or will they choose to follow your unbelieving mate?  Will the Lord’s Church suffer in the next generation because of the poor judgement you made in this generation? Please be careful not to make Olivia’s mistake!
Finally, F. B. Meyer (2) says, “It is all-important that the children of God’s people should marry only in the Lord. See 1 Cor. 7:39.  Those who live in fellowship with him may confidently count on his help in this.  Every marriage should be a matter for profound concern and much prayer, both for the parents of each, as well as for those that are to be wed.  What wonder that so many marriages turn out to be a disappointment and a curse when they are entered upon so lightly and thoughtlessly!"
1. Shields, Sara P., “ The Unequal Yoke - Will It Work? ”, Evangelical Tract Distributors, P. 0. Box 146, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5J 2G9 2. Meyer, F.B., “ Devotional Commentary” , Tyndale House, Note On Genesis 24.
— Selected by Kevin & Connie Hayhurst