It is showing esteem or reverence for other people or things. We are to show courtesy and give honour to people because they are made in God’s image, understanding Christ died for them too. Their [personal] dignity will be enhanced as we value them and show our love. This attitude requires that we also respect people’s property because it is of value and meaning to them.

The Bible states we are to respect the government, our employers, church leaders and all in authority because they are ordained by God, having delegated power to manage systems or organizations effectively and for the benefit of all within their sphere of activity (Act 23:5; Rom 13:1-7; 1 Thes 5:12,13; 1 Tim 5:17). Although David had several opportunities to kill Saul and so enter into that which he had been promised, he would not touch ‘the Lord’s anointed’ one (the one in authority over him), but waited for God to intervene in the situation (1 Sam 24:6-20).

Respect translates into doing what is the highest good for people, as well as obeying them if they are in authority over us, and it doesn’t contravene God’s commands (Lk 6:46). Have mutual respect and consideration for others especially those who are older; living by the Golden Rule (Lk 6:31; 1 Tim 5:1,2; 1 Pet 2:17, 5:5). We are to respect our

Do I respect others of different                  cultures or social groups?

parents, regardless of their age or how unkind they may have been (Ex 20:12; Eph 6:1-3; Col 3:20). Even if we don’t naturally like another person we are obligated to honour the office or function they hold.

Respect can’t be demanded but is earned by fulfilling your responsibilities and having a caring attitude.  Do not over-ride the choice another makes. Lay the options clearly before them, however the decision is ultimately theirs. Undisciplined, selfish people don’t respect or submit to authorities as they represent boundaries or limitations, preventing them doing what they want to do.

God does not show favouritism so He is not impressed by a person’s social standing. We all stand equal before Him – all His dealings are impartial and just (Act 10:34,35; Rom 2:11). We also are to value and believe the best for others treating them in the same way without being influenced by their importance, instead doing to them as we would they do back unto us (Mt 25:35-45; Lk 6:31; Jas 2:8,9; 1 Pet 2:17).

See also: authority, boundaries, courtesy, honour, reverence, self-esteem, submission, value.


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