Respect: the Earned Virtue for Exemplary Christians

Respect is earned. That’s a tough lesson for many of us. It’s earned by position (e.g. parents, government officials, doctors, pastors, etc.) and it’s earned by people with their actions. Because respect is earned, it can be lost. It can be lost by individuals not acting in accordance with their position, abusing authority as it were. It can be lost by institutions through systemic corruption, chronic failure, or the high-visibility sinning of a prominent leader.

tiny-virtues-respectThere are a lot of people out there thinking that respect is owed no matter what.  They demand it… from others… as if it’s only Romans 13:7 “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” and has nothing to do with their actions.  They forget the “if” precedes respect and integrity is the glue that holds institutions together when enough corruption has weakened the institution. For that reason, we can remove rogue policemen from the force without condemning all policemen. We can remove false teachers from the pastorate without bulldozing the Church.

Respect is one of the Tiny Virtues for Exemplary Christian Living seen best when we examine our hearts closely. The Bible tells the story of a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She’d lost all respect for the institutions that had taken her money but hadn’t given her any relief from her condition.

Mark 5: 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. 30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

Maybe it was her desperation. Maybe she had tremendous faith and respect for Jesus as a healer of people. A respect that was both by His position as Rabbi but also earned by His reputation as Healer. She felt the power of Christ and knew He was worthy of respect.

The passage continues Mark 5: 31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?'” 32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Jesus wouldn’t let it go without commending her faith and sealing her healing. Jesus wanted to reward the respect she’d shown Him by her publically coming forward in truth, gratitude, and humility.

Ponder today: the foundation of respect and how you demonstrate it.

Bible character of the day: the woman who reached out for Jesus’ healing

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on September 14, 2016

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