Ok, revelation time: when I was growing up (and sadly enough in some recent history), I had some very “sassy” moments, to put it mildly. Unfortunately, I remember some EXTREMELY bad moments when I’ve been very disrespectful. With a little bit of maturity now (with lots of room to continue growing), I look back on those moments with regret and embarrassment. I’ve even had an extremely successful pastor gently remind me of a very arrogant conversation I had with him when I was a teenager. Thankfully, he was very gracious and understanding when he reminded me of this conversation, but I was nevertheless very embarrassed by my words and behavior.
Bringing these memories into my present behavior, I’ve come to the conclusion that respect is never out of bounds and disrespect is always out of bounds. In my generation, we have often made the mistake of presupposing a person had to “earn” our respect before we would give it. I’ve often noticed now that if I will treat people with respect, whether they deserve it or not, they usually behave in a respectful way. For those individuals who remain disrespectful even when I treat them with honor, I figure that their behavior is their responsibility and not mine. At the end of the day, I want to make sure that I’m honoring God. So if I can treat my fellow human with honor, it’s creating a lifestyle of honor to please my heavenly Father.
I have never regretted treating someone with respect, but I’m always disappointed in myself when I am disrespectful. Honor begets honor – Prov 3:35 🙂