Respect is a good word for these two verses. Respect older men. Respect younger men. Respect older women. Respect younger women. Respect others. Paul puts respect for others in terms of how we treate family. However, these days families are so broken that we don’t know how to treat a father, mother, brother, and sister.
I have heard others say (and thought myself too), “Respect is earned.” Is it? If I believe it is then I need to answer some questions. Is respect a gift to give someone? Does someone need to act a certain way to get my respect? Isn’t believing that respect is earned making me a judge on who is worthy of my respect? It is. Then isn’t it a statement of pride?
Don’t I believe that all those who encounter me owe me respect? And if someone does not “pay me respect” am I offended? I think that most people deep down desire and need others’ respect.
What happens to me when someone treats me with proper respect? What happens to me when someone disrespects me?
Why do I punish someone for behavior or attitude that I disapprove of by showing them either disrespect or no respect at all? Isn’t that what I am doing by not treating others with respect, punishing them?
I think my problem with answering some of these questions revolves around the fact that I don’t understand the dynamics of respect. What really is respect? Is it a feeling or the way I interact with others? It is both. Respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements, and respect is regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others. Sometimes I find that I have to practice one without truly having the other.