A small word for a strong meaning. What is respect? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, respect means the following:
an act of giving particular attention
high or special regard
the quality or state of being esteemed/highly regarded
to consider worthy of high regard
to refrain from interfering with (such as respecting someone's privacy)
When we respect someone, the above is required. We are to give them the appropriate attention, hold them in high/special regard, consider them worthy of high regard, and refrain from interfering. When we respect God, we are giving Him our full attention, holding His name, Word, and character in the highest regard, we consider Him worthy of being esteemed, and we refrain from interfering with His plan by being a stumbling block or being disobedient to His Word. In our life, God should be respected above all.
Respect is greatly lacking today. The elderly are ignored and considered a burden or inconvenience. Parents are disobeyed and disregarded. People in authority are targeted and disgraced. Men are belittled and diminished. Women are dishonored and mistreated.
Now respect is not a right, it has to be taught and earned. You don't respect someone until you know them, right? However, you can be respectful of others as we all ought to be. Unfortunately, respect is a rare quality taught. Especially in the United States of America where we live individualistic lives rather than collective. Instead of helping each other and thinking about the whole of our community or country/culture, we focus more on ourselves and how we can be successful or happy. In Asian cultures, it normally is the opposite, the focus is more on the big picture rather than one piece of the puzzle. However, as the entire world is full of sin and continues to be filled with evil, respect is dwindling out worldwide.
Instead of taking care of our elderly, we put them away and neglect them. They are often abused and mistreated, suffering and dying alone. At a time in their life when they need help and love similarly to a child, we turn them away. Why can't we take some time out of our day to visit them or call them, send them a card once in a while besides on their birthday or a holiday? Just let them know you love them and are thinking of them. Why aren't more healthcare professionals treating them with the respect and honor they deserve? They were young once too, why do we treat them as less than human? God tells us that the elderly are important. They are to teach the younger generations and pass on wisdom and historical lessons.
Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity. - 1 Timothy 5:1-2
Honor widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety [definition: fidelity to natural obligations (as to parents)] at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. - 1 Timothy 5:3-4
Instead of honoring our mother and father, heeding their words of wisdom, and obeying their house rules, we fight with them, seek to fulfill our own wants. The ones who raised, protected, and provided for us, are often left to take care of themselves once the children grow up and leave. Yes, the children may visit or call them, send them gifts during the holidays, but what about taking care of our parents? In Korea, it is common for adult children to send their parents an allowance. Personally, I agree with this concept because it makes sense, they gave us an allowance and took care of our needs and wants, they deserve the same in return. I understand not all parents have done the right things and some families are broken, but for those who were/are blessed with parents that loved and provided for them, why aren't we loving and helping them in return?
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment - Ephesians 6:1-2a
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. - Hebrews 12:7-11
Instead of respecting and obeying people in authority, we are placing a target on them and demanding they go away. Yes, there are many corrupt people in authority who use their position to do corrupt things. This is where the right should stand up to evil. However, God is in control, and He sets up kings and takes them down, so if they are in a position above us, God has allowed it. We are to obey God always and can still be respectful to those in authority even if we do not agree with them. Look at Daniel and his friends who still respected the ungodly king but always put God first and obeyed God's commands. If a law or demand goes against God's word, then that is when we stand up and continue to live life as God has called us to, but just as Daniel and many Biblical people did, we are to do so with respect and humility, not with aggression, hate, or malice. Also, we are not to condemn the group for the individual's sin, meaning just because there is one bad apple in the bunch does not make all people in authority bad. There are good people, few, but they need our prayers and encouragement because they are the ones getting the brunt of the attacks from others.
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. - Romans 13:1-7
Instead of respecting men and the position God has given them, we belittle them and humiliate them. Men are accused of being sexists just because they are male. There are some men who have hatred in their hearts towards females, but we should not label all men for a few men's sins. In society, men are treated like dogs. They are put down and told to shut up. Men fear speaking out, standing up and have become lazy from the constant lack of filling their God-given role. No wonder there are so many problems with marriages, parent-child relationships, churches, and communities. Men should be respected and looked up to for decision-making, wise advice, and leadership. Men need to turn to God's Word to learn how to be the man God designed and lead in the way He created.
What does respecting men look like? It is acknowledging the role God designed for men and understanding why God placed man in the leadership role. It is encouraging and teaching young boys to be hard workers, God-fearing leaders, filled with godly wisdom, and use the tools God gives us to accomplish His unique purpose for each boy. It is teaching girls to respect boys, treat them with honor and meekness, allow them to lead and learn to be a "behind the scenes" godly influencer. From godly teaching, positive male role models, and the sound advice of parents, boys would grow up to be secure in their maleness, able to lead wisely, and treat others with the same respect they are taught.
Instead of respecting women, we encourage abominable ideas and mistreat them. God never said nor desired that woman is to be above man, nor has God said that women are inferior to men. God has instead instructed that both are equal with different strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. We are to help each other be the best we can, where women are weak men are strong, and where men are weak women are strong. The whole feminism idea is straight from the devil. Women are not to be the same as men, women are to be exactly how God made them, female. Should women be allowed to vote and be paid fairly? Of course, but feminism is not about true women's rights. The whole feminisim idea claims it is for equal rights for women but in truth, it is to destroy the gender roles God-ordained. There is nothing wrong with a woman working to provide for her family, pursuing her career, and being a go-getter, but there is something wrong with women neglecting their feminity to be the same as men. Women were never created to lead or "wear the pants", which is the opposite of nature and is an abomination. There are many hard-working women mentioned in the Bible, from Deborah the prophetess to Ruth who had to work to provide for her mother-in-law and herself. However, these women did not try to be men, they were proud to be women and respected and acknowledged the God-designed male role.
Telling women it is their body so it's their right to choose to kill their baby is an outright lie and heinous evil that has poisoned our society and destroyed millions of lives. What about that baby's body and life? God tells us to care and stand up for those who cannot care or stand up for themselves. (Proverbs 31:8-9 "Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.").
What does respecting women look like? It is acknowledging the role God designed for women and understanding why God placed women in the helpmeet role. It is encouraging and teaching young girls to be modest, God-fearing ladies, filled with godly wisdom, and use the tools God gives us to accomplish His unique purpose for each girl. It is teaching boys to honor and respect girls, to be gentlemen and protective, to be kind and considerate, to lead in a godly and wise manner with the best intentions in mind. From godly teaching, positive female role models, and the sound advice of parents, girls would grow up to be secure in their feminity, able to live wisely, and treat others with the same respect they are taught.
Respect must be taught. We need to first start demonstrating respectfulness through our own actions and words, then we need to teach our children the meaning, value, and manner of respect.