Respectfully Yours

Respect – a high or special regard

Love –  strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (from Webster.com)

I’ve always heard these two phrases in association with respect:
You have to give respect to get respect.
Respect your elders.

You have to give respect to get respect. Can I break this down for a moment? This phrase inherently denies respect to everyone initially until it is shown by someone. Am I wrong? It doesn’t imply that everyone ought to be shown respect simply because they are human but instead that only those that humble themselves to show respect to others are worthy of others respect.

“To respect is to understand that the other person is not you, not an extension of you, not a reflection of you, not your toy, not your pet, not your product. In a relationship of respect, your task is to understand the other person as a unique individual and learn how to mesh your needs with his or hers and help that person achieve what he or she wants to achieve. Your task is not to control the other person or try to change him or her in a direction that you desire but he or she does not.” from HERE

In contrast, respect in a relationship without love is bland; it is without emotion. Instead, let’s love each other with respect. Flaunt it to everyone around us those who show it to us and those that don’t. Let’s give love with respect to all we encounter. After all, it’s how the world is supposed to know us, by our love.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:34-35

Although it’s not in the official definition, I’d edge on saying true loving respect comes with humility. (Hence why I don’t say I respect politicians; there isn’t much humility shown.) Love and respect are mutual and in balance with one another. I provide respect with love to my family and friends. I understand that they are their own people and I understand their ability to make decisions and stand by them.

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
1 Peter 5:5

And if you’re going to insist the ‘respect your elders’ is biblical, then notice the last half of this verse: humility to one another (so it’s not humility to only one party, it’s humility all the way around) and God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

This tells me that if both approach respect with humility then it will create a safe space for love and understanding. Let’s not be a people that pick and choose God’s words, and let’s also notice Jesus himself didn’t say these words, someone who may have been Peter did. (It’s debated in theological circles if Peter actually wrote this book or not.)

God created all people, young, old, husbands, daughters, rich, and poor. No one is more deserving of respect than anyone else. Instead, we are all worthy of respect and the right to human dignity afforded to us as God’s creation. Respect with love provides all family members the right to be heard, and the opportunity to be themselves without infringing on the rights of others.

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
Galatians 3:27-29


So the ultimate question is do you want to receive respect without love?

This post is focused on close-knit relationships.


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