Monday, February 6, 2017
Friends of Faith:
Do you remember the song, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T—just give me a little Respect” by Aretha Franklin? I feel like that’s what God must be thinking as we make choices contrary to Church teaching formed by twenty century’s of guidance by the Holy Spirit in the Church Jesus left here to complete his salvation vision for all people.
“Brothers and sisters: Through Jesus, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.
Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Heb 13: 15-18
This verse from Saturday’s readings spells RESPECT to me and points to the issues created by the lack of respect of leaders in today’s culture.
God deserves our respect, praise and thanksgiving because everything we have is from Him: Life, the chance for eternal life given by His son, Jesus’, death and resurrection, and all that sustains our very being.
And leaders in our homes, our schools, our workplaces, and our world should be given the chance to earn our respect when we equally serve each other—each doing our part in making our homes, our schools, our workplaces and our world a better place for everyone. Our world is not something we deserve, but something God gifted us so that we would have a “space” and a reason where we could reflect His love on others.
Instead our lack of respect is shown by our self-serving individualistic natures and our perceived needs for unbridled wealth and happiness which is reflected in the divorce rate, bullying and materialism.
The reading also defines respect in terms of sharing; doing good for the other (and not expecting anything back, or expecting something for nothing); obedience to authority; and experiencing joy in having done the right thing vs giving sorrow because of criticism, blame and complaining.
R-Right Judgment through a clear conscience. Do I have a true desire to do what is right for others? And do I give obedience to those in leadership roles: starting first with God and then with those who are entrusted to lead us.
E-Empathize! Think about where the other person is coming from and how they perceive the situation. Right or wrong, if we aren’t at least trying to understand the other person’s heart, their upbringing, and the motivation for what they do it will probably lead to sorrow rather than joy. How much “sorrow” do we create in our own homes because we fail to respect those we profess to love the most?
S-Share. It’s one of the first virtues we teach children. But as adults we can be very self serving and neglectful of doing good, sharing our time, talents and treasures with others. When we receive a shared gift given from the heart it is difficult not to respect the person giving the gift.
P-Prayer and “Please and Thank you.” (Not power, not politics--‘Nough said)
E –Expect the Best, Don’t look for the worst. (Again, enough said)
C-Character, Built on Christian values and morals.
T-Truth. Tell, Teach and Trust the Truth. Not our “relativism” truth, not culture’s truth, but God’s truth. The kind of truth you would tell if you were swearing on the bible. And be honest with yourself about your own faults. I believe if everyone was more truthful we’d have much less division, much more respect and abundant joy.
Let us give God Respect. Pray and truthfully seek to share the gifts He has given us for the good of others so that everyone can get a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.