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          The respect of others is coveted by all. Unfortunately, some folks receive little if any of it. It is defined by Webster as "regard" or "expression of esteem". He further states that the respectable individual is “he that is deserving".  In most cases the respect we receive of others is but a barometer of our character and our treatment of them. To some folk’s dismay, they receive what they "deserve".  Respect is an invisible object of value, which cannot be bought, sold or bartered, only earned and forfeited.

            Respect Must Have a Basis

            The only hope of having an understanding and possessing respectability is by a careful study of the Divine character, as exhibited by the Godhead. In fact, no one can rightly refuse to respect God for any of the reasons we may find ourselves undeserving. God is to be respected because the basis in which He always deals with man is according to love and truth. Oh what peace and contentment this offers!  God's unwavering commitment to man by the truth enables us to trust Him as the Psalmist did, "Into Your hand I commit my spirit: you have  redeemed me, O LORD God of truth." (Psa 31:5)  Paul told Titus that he was involved in “... the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;" (Titus 1:1b-2) The bedrock this Apostle stood upon was the truth or verity of God, and is the basis for which the promise of salvation is to be expected, and will not be withheld from any obedient subject.

            The respect lost by many could be regained if only they would pattern their affairs with others on the basis of truth. However, trusting relationships where respect is needed can never be nurtured in an environment where dishonesty and deceit prevail. Brethren who refuse to keep their word, are not trustworthy, and refuse to live "by the truth which is after godliness" (Tit. 1:1), destroy their reputation and deserve no esteem from others. Not to mention the depreciation they inflict on the local church's influence. Paul reminded the Ephesians that one of the many results of having been taught the truth which is by Christ was, "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another." (Eph. 4:21-25). Why do Christians throw themselves into the slime-pit of gossip, lying, slander, and backbiting?  Those who do can be sure that if they hurt others and are less than honest and truthful, they will find themselves lonely and without the respect of any “respectable” people.

            Self-Sacrificing Treatment With Love Commands Respect

            All right-thinking individuals will respect God for the kind and undeserving treatment He has extended to mankind. The human race was deserving of death, not the gift of God's Son. But the Almighty intervened with a scheme that would meet the demands of Divine justice. Jesus died to commute our death sentence. "But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us".(Rom 5:8) "For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:" (2 Cor 5:14)  God gave His only begotten Son, paying the immeasurable price of redemption. While possessing all power He forces no one to accept His offer of love. What an example to follow and be respected for.

          Brethren would do well to imitate this Divine example and command by offering undeserving, sacrificial love as Paul states, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." (Phil 2:3-4) Try to comprehend the extent to which this principle, as it was applied by the Father and the Son has affected the world, IT MADE SALVATION POSSIBLE! If we will apply these Divine character traits in our live, we'll not only be respected, but make a positive difference in the eternal welfare of those we associate with. Without implementing this attitude, all hope of doing any lasting good is forfeited. The congregation as well as the individual will gain no more respect or regard from others or the community than a rogue.

          Why do some brethren refuse to learn from these and other divine examples?  While Satan is making great gains through worldliness and the pleasures of sin, we can hold him at bay by refusing to participate in unbecoming behavior that causes ourselves and the Church to lose the respect of others.

Think about it.