The Return of Respect
Micca Monda Campbell

"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:18 (NIV)

When I was pregnant with my third child, I shamefully displayed a lack of respect for a police officer. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I was running late for church. On the way, I had to drop off my eldest son at baseball practice. The fact that he had practice on a church night already had my tail feathers up in the air, not to mention it was drizzling rain.

To make up for lost time, I sped right into the park where the police officer pulled me over. I was appalled! How could he set up a speed trap in the park on a rainy day to catch a pregnant woman who was running late for church! The nerve! I thought.

I'd had it. Before the officer could approach my car, I jumped out in the rain and met him halfway. "Are you going to give me a ticket?" I questioned with one hand on my hip and the other pointing in his face. He didn't speak nor did his expression change so I continued. "I thought it was outrageous enough that these boys have to practice ball on a church night in the rain, but nooooo! Being set up for a speed trap in the park takes the cake!"

"Ma'am, I'm sorry." He apologized.

"Well, you should be," I whispered under my breath.

"I can't do anything about your son's practice, but I can assure you I can do something about your speeding," he said while firmly pulling his ticket pad from his coat pocket. "Furthermore," he added, "if you continue to disrespect my authority, I can do something about that too."

Disrespect his authority? Is that what I did? Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened. While I'd like to blame my behavior on my hormones, I can't. I was guilty on all accounts. As I cowered back to my car, I noticed my children's faces pressed against the window of the backseat. They were no doubt learning how to disrespect authority—from their mother.

I let what I thought were my rights blind me to truth. It was my duty to submit to the authority of the police officer. Regrettably, this kind of behavior goes on everyday in the workplace, the home, and even in the church. Why is that? I believe it's because our society today has lost a general lack of respect for one another.

God commands, 'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord" (Leviticus 19:18). We show honor to God by displaying reverential esteem of others. Respect for God alone should motivate us to offer grace by extending an encouraging word instead of thrashing another with a rude comment. Generally, those who tear down others usually have little respect for themselves. Their rude comments are a desperate attempt to make themselves look better. Sadly, the results usually turn out opposite.

Can you imagine what our world would look like today if we heeded God's command? Envision how great it would be if all spouses respected one another; if children honored their parents; and if citizens obeyed the laws of God and government. It would be a different world! We would have a feeling of security with gestures of love freely given and received. Common courtesies would be raised from the dead. We'd make an effort to know our neighbors and lend a helping hand to a stranger. The words "fear" and "anxiety" would be dropped from the human language. Peace and goodwill would be the heartbeat of our existence.

Let's not dream of a world where people live together in unity, love, and respect as God intended. We can make it happen together using one little word called respect.

Dear Lord, I confess that I don't always respect others' rights, feelings, properties, time or space. Help me to be more gracious and kind, by the power of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Taken from An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell

A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life by Lysa TerKeurst & Sharon Jaynes

Pierced By the Word: 31 Meditations for Your Soul by John Piper

Visit Micca’s blog

Check out our free resource License to Sin

Application Steps:
Practice respect this week by holding the door for a stranger. Help out a sales clerk by re-hanging dropped clothing from the floor. Respect the privacy of your co-worker by not sharing her troubles with another. Respect your child by listening to their dreams. When your spouse speaks, give your undivided attention. And respect traffic laws by going the speed limit!

Reflections:
What can you do at home, church and the work place to revive respect among one another?

Power Verses:
Galatians 5:14, "The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (NIV)

© 2010 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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4 Comments:

Blogger ImaFriendofGod said...

Mrs. Micca,

WOW!

You've left me speechless. What an awesome reminder and challenge.

I challenge all P31 readers to look at your Application Steps again and let's start changing hearts TODAY!

Baby steps can turn around the heart of our nation. If you've been looking for your "purpose", your talent, here's a great way to start.

He is worthy!

Blogger Familyof6inTX said...

How funny! I was rushing to get my kids dropped off and get to work this morning, when I got pulled over. As soon as I saw the police officer I wanted to be mad, but I caught myself and tried to remind myself of the 3 little ones in the back. He was very nice and only gave me a warning and it was a good time to remind me that I need to be careful about all I do because the kids in the back are watching me.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder. Often we have a "knee-jerk" reaction to situations and later regret how we may have handled it. The challenge is to truly repent and go foward with the committment to be slower to react in anger.
However, there is an epidemic of the lack good graces and manners which is sweeping the country. Some are too bust texting or talking on the phone to notice those around who may need a door opened, or a smile. People are rude if their fast food is not as fast as they want it to be. Road rage, and impatience is at an all time high. Try having your car breakdown at a busy intersection and see how many people honk rather that help. Like you wanted to stop the flow of traffic! Vulgarity is common place. Small children tell adults what to do and address them as peers. Indiffernce is pervasive. How do think Jesus handled the crowds in his day, the traffic jams, the broken and slow? Jesus was a man of grace. A trait I need to remember the next time I become "huffy" in a slow grocery line, or get so engrosed in myself that I fail to acknowledge those around me. I might be missing a few opportuties along the way to reflect HIM.

Blogger MrsLouis01 said...

Thank you for the reminder of how we should behave especially as children of the Most High God! Respect is great when received but few give it as well. So thank you again. I will put this into more practice.

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