“Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor”( Romans 13:7)
Recently I witnessed an act of disrespect towards the elders. As a pastor I meditate upon the word of God. These are some revelations I found: Just like paying a loan, respect is a debt to be paid. If you call yourself a child of a God, then you are to live a life free of debts. If you are in debt and you have no desire to settle it, then you have lost your testimony as a believer in Christ. We are commanded to pay our debt of respect to all who are in authority and to our spiritual leaders in particular because they are worthy of respect. Please be sure of this, God monitors the way we think, talk or behave towards others, especially our leaders.
To disrespect someone is to act in an insulting way toward them. When you disrespect people, you think very little of them. Disrespect is not accidental, but it is a choice about NOT showing proper respect, by acting rude, impolite and offensive. For example, talking back to your teacher is showing disrespect for her authority. Not giving up your seat to an elderly person is an act of disrespect. So is ignoring the customs and culture in a foreign country. The opposite of respect is to despise, to hate, to strongly dislike another human being because you think he is bad or he has no value to you.
To respect someone it means to have due regard for the feelings, wishes or rights of others. It means to be polite and kind ; to admire deeply, to openly honor, praise or treasure another because of their qualities, achievements and their investing in your life, or at least because he or she is God’s creation!
For example when Korah and his followers gathered themselves together against Moses, you know how God expressed His anger who complained against His ordained authority. The Scriptures regard it as a daring and dangerous thing to “speak evil of dignities, to despise dominion.” God takes disrespect against His delegated authority as a personal insult. When Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, Moses says to them, “Your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord.” Also, when Israel rejected Samuel as their ruler God regarded it as a rejection of Himself. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God! My testimony: I live in Nigeria since 1980. Most of the customs here are very different than in my birth country, Romania. Long ago I made a choice; I take it as a duty to learn the traditions of people here. This is so that I may not ignorantly offend the very people I try to help spiritually. That will not be helpful to my testimony as Christian. By the grace of a God, I chose to show proper respect to Nigerians and all people I encounter everywhere! Respecting people of all colors and cultures is my choice!
Many people have helped me along the way, but my husband in particular. He has been my mentor to help me understand the way Nigerian people think and behave. Over the years, he has patiently explained to me how to talk, dress and behave here. It has not been easy but it is my privilege to work in Nigeria where God has sent me. I honor my husband and my pastor, Dr. Richmond Leigh! God bless you Sir!
My prayer this morning: May I learn to live a humble holy fruitful life pleasing to God! Like Queen Esther, May I find favor with God and with the people! May people see and hear Christ in me! May nothing in my life hinder the progress of the Gospel! May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in Your eyes, my Lord and my Redeemer! In Jesus’ name, amen!
(written on the 14th of March, 2019)