Tuesday, August 27, 2013
LIVING NOTHING LESS THAN JOY REQUIRES RESPECT
Word has it that all we need is love, lots of love. But love requires more than heart hunger and lust. It requires respect. And respect has gone the way of reason: It just doesn’t exist in way too many minds. I expect the word to simply disappear from the dictionary in the near future because there will be no definition for it.
Three boys shot a runner just because they were bored and needed a little excitement. A woman strikes a cyclist as she passes and leaves him in the road broken and alone. (She was not even supposed to be driving for several reasons.) A cyclist pushes an 80 year old man into the road as he passes. and leaves him lying there. A young man shoots a WWII veteran because he is disabled and the kid doesn’t like that. An old man drives into, and kills, a young girl playing in her own yard; he did not take the time to control his blood sugars that day. And it was not the first time.
A woman accepts an intimate relationship with a man she will not marry, but she will not accept his short comings and leaves him at home, without transportation to do the work he otherwise would be doing. A man, who is not yet divorced, moves in with a willing woman who he then takes full control of to the point of getting her to put her money into his bank account. Another man keeps his wife under his control by keeping her medications from her, telling her he will give them to her as he sees fit; and he does it in the name of Christ.
And I am not even going to get into the general horrors going on today. There is just too much of it. What I want to emphasize is that respect for each other has been thrown out the window in favor of cruelty in every corner of society today. There is no respect from the young for the elderly; there is no respect from the elderly for the young as they spread their wings; there is no respect between the classes; (Yes, we do—have classes.) There is no respect for any authority—teachers, firemen, policemen, grocery clerks, bank tellers, wait persons, business owners—from anyone, young or old.
But, sadist of all, there seems to be so very little respect between men and women that marriages and relationships seem to be something to be avoided. And, frankly, this disrespect overflows to the generations following and it turns into hideous behavior along the way. One sadly destructive demonstration of this is the way exes treat each other over the children and in front of the children.
God saw Adam and saw that He was alone. None of the other created beings were alone. He had created them male and female, making them instant couples. Only Adam was alone. So God created woman. Some say life has been a big mess ever sense. But at the beginning they had a wonderful relationship with each other and with God. What a beautiful testimony to God’s love for us.
Then the tempter came along and split the relationship into three. Adam was guilty. Eve was guilty. And both were ashamed. They each had to come face to face with God and hear His love and disappointment in them. They were still a couple and they were stirred to the core with the realization that they had sinned. In their shame they pulled together (after having blamed one another) and they set about making a life in their new circumstances. They set aside petty things and went about attempting to please God and walk with Him together as He would have them do. And they respected each other and God as they went forward. We can see that in the respectful, God honoring, Able.
Now, as is with all of us today, not every child followed suit, but they let God have His way with each child out of respect for the child and for the God who loved that child.
Okay, so I made the respect stuff up. There are no scripture verses I can quote here about respect. But God’s Word in total, demonstrates what happens when there is respect and when there is not. And the world today is a living demonstration of disrespect.
I thank God for parents who teach their children to respect God and to respect others, not just by word, but by deed. I thank God that there are children and young people in our community that I do not need to fear, as a woman, especially an old, single woman. I thank God for each and every person who shows the respect to other people that He Himself showed to everyone He met; even the Pharisees to whom He constantly spoke the words they already knew right back to them when they challenged him.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T might be a very popular song, but respect is not popular at all. May we show the respect of Christ in our lives and in our relationships; whether they be causal or intimate or somewhere in between. May we be shinning lights of love and respect that will bring attention to the Light of the World as we wander on our path through this world. May God make us a blessing to someone today just because He wants to. Amen.