I’ve thought a lot about respect lately. Probably because I’ve been exposed to situations where people have shown blatant disrespect.
My son has had the privilege of being part of a 15-year old Babe Ruth All Star team won the State Championship this year. It was a thrilling experience as these great, hard-working boys and coaches dedicated all of themselves to the game of baseball. I have seen how this sport has helped form my son. Through hard work, dedication, commitment and respect for the game they have achieved more together than ever before.
Through the closeness of being with these boys my son came to talk to me about the disrespect one of the boys shows for the game, for his parents, other adults and teammates. My stomach turned as I witnessed this behavior by disregard of others, blaming, screaming and cursing and even more troubling the acceptance of his parents to this behavior by excusing it with no consequences.
As I witnessed for myself errors and plays on the field, I saw this intense anger, confrontational behavior and total disrespect of others. It was tough for the other players as they tried hard to develop a sense of team spirit, of respect and love for the game. The team knew the struggles they had to endure to overcome the behavior of one of the players.
Respect is a huge issue for me. I grew up in a home where mutual love respect bloomed and was nurtured. At the end of my own marriage and for a time afterward, I experienced my ex-husband’s behavior that had become extremely disrespectful and dishonoring toward me due to alcoholism. It was such a horrible experience to be treated so badly and I vowed never to accept this type of mistreatment or dishonoring. I knew that as I went through that time, that my two young children might model that appalling behavior and I had to choose how to respond and how model different behavior.
Genesis 1:26 tells us, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to our likeness.’” God doesn’t make losers. He creates people in His image, worthy of respect and honor. At the center of every successful human relationship is respect—for your parent, your neighbor, your friend, your spouse, your teacher, your child, your boss. We are to give people kindness, not scorn, mockery or contempt.
It is up to all of us to take the responsibility of being made in God’s likeness. Is God not a loving, compassionate, forgiving, kind and merciful God? It takes a village to raise children—I know as a single parent that I would be lost without those around me that I can look to for Christian counsel. I know my own son who has been disappointed by his own father, looks for other male role models of character that he can model and respect.
As Christians we need to learn to expect respect and mostly to give respect and honor. God created us – every one of us – for that reason alone we are worthy of respect. Won’t you find ways to expect respect and to give respect – abundantly and lavishly – and find ways to model to others the character of the one in which our own image is formed after?