I sometimes wonder if we understand what a word really means. Take the word respect, for instance. We often hear that we have to respect others, but what does that mean? The Cambridge English Dictionary defines it as follows: Admiration felt or shown for someone or something that you believe has good ideas or qualities; politeness, honour, and care shown towards someone or something that is considered important; a feeling that something is right or important and you should not attempt to change it or harm it.
Respect implies certain conduct on our part, conduct that conveys a specific message. In a way, respect forms the basis or the starting point of our conduct. When we treat a person with respect, it means that we think that person is worthy. And obviously the opposite is also true. When we do not regard a person as worthy, our conduct will show that.
When we understand that, the following verse makes more sense: 3God wants you to live a pure life. Keep yourselves from s*xual promiscuity. 4-5Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it…
Respect must be the starting point between my spouse and me. When we speak, we put the other before ourselves. Most of the time we succeed in doing so. But the wheels come off when we have a difference of opinion. Then I want to uphold my point of view. I want to win and in the process respect leaves by the backdoor and a small war breaks out.
When respect leaves by the backdoor, nobody wins. Can I say it again? When respect leaves by the backdoor, nobody wins. If the foundation of our marriage is not built on respect, the chance of breaking up is right around the corner.
We must always put the other above ourselves. Even if we are disappointed sometimes, we can still treat the other with honour and deference. You cannot make a distinction between people and our conduct must always show courtesy and politeness, especially towards our spouse.
If we can succeed in doing that, we can solve the differences between us in such a way that we never need to say: We agree to disagree. Then, somewhere along the way, we’ll learn to leave space for being different from one another.
It’s not always that easy, especially if the other person’s conduct is directly opposite of respect. It’s not easy to respect someone who kicks you in the teeth. It’s not easy to respect someone who has no respect for you or your things.
But let’s learn from this. Let our conduct make it easy for others to respect us. Let’s make sure that our actions earn the respect of others.
Do you have enough respect for your spouse?
Does he/she have enough for you?
Father, You knew it wasn’t good for man to be alone. That is why You gave us to one another as partners. Please guide us to treat one another with respect and love. Help us to confirm our faith in You by being obedient to your Word. Amen.