Respect - A Collapsing Value

Bible Book: Matthew  7 : 12
Subject: Respent; Kindness; Gentleness; Love

Matthew 7:12

One day a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, he found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal, he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry and so she brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?" She replied, You don't owe me anything. My mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness." He said, "Then I thank you from my heart." As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strengthened also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Years later, that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialist to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, he went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor's gown, he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day, he gave special attention to the case. After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested from the business office to pass the final billing to him for approval. He looked at it, and then wrote something on the edge, and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words: "Paid in full with one glass of milk, Signed: Dr. Howard Kelly." Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: "Thank you, God, that your love is shed abroad through human hearts and hands."

Our world is, unfortunately, is becoming a rude world. Respect for people, institutions, and property is declining daily. The people the Bible says we are to respect most seem to receive the least respect.

The Bible reminds us respect is one of the values that bring stability. Matthew 7:12 gives to us the formula. We are to treat others as we wish to be treated.

You want to be respected. It is a basic need. Even people with whom we disagree deserve respect. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2, "Respect everyone." Lets consider this subject today from God's perspective.

I. Reasons To Show Respect To Others

A. Who Created Everybody?

Everybody was created by God, and that means that all people have value.

B. What God Did For Everybody

The people you think least about God loves. He revealed that people are of such value He gave His life for them. Jesus died for all people.

C. How This Is To Be Reflected Through My Life

I john 4:8 says, "He who does not love does not know God, because God is love." Jesus treated people with respect. If Jesus Christ lives in me, I will reflect His life and love through my life.

D. What It Does For Me?

What you give out, you get back. The Bible calls it the Law Of The Harvest. You desire respect, so you must show respect. The most respected people are the most respectful people.

II. Rendering Respect

A. Be Tactful Not Just Truthful

Proverbs. 15:4 "Kind words bring life but cruel words crush your spirit." The best way we show respect is through our words. The way you say something will determine how well it will be received. Someone has said, "Tactfulness is the emotional lubrication of life. It reduces friction." Even your voice inflections make a difference.

Tact is:

i. What you think but don't say.

ii. The ability to make a point without making an enemy. It is like someone telling you to jump off a cliff in a way that makes you look forward to the journey.

iii. Treating everybody as if they knew what they were talking about.

iv. The art of changing the subject without changing your mind.

B. Speaking The Truth In Love

Too many people confuse frankness with rudeness. They say things like: I just tell it like it is. I just let the chips fall where they may. Actually, frankness is speaking the truth in love. When I am about to "be frank" I need to ask the question, "Why am I going to say this?" Is it to destroy the person or develop the person? Is it to build them up or tear them down? Is it to protect them or punish them? We must not confuse being frank with venting our anger.

When being served by people I need to be patient not demanding. One of the greatest tests of character is how you treat people when they serve you. Your Christianity is reflected more by how you respond to service rendered than how you respond in this service.


It takes no character to by rude. Rudeness is a weak man's imitation of strength. When you disagree with people, be gentle. When you attack, make sure it's problems not people you are attacking. You can disagree with someone without being disagreeable. Don't devastate everyone just because they are wrong. Some Christians are the rudest of all people.

Zealousness for the truth can lead to callousness when it comes to loving people for whom Jesus died. Being right on an issue is no excuse for rudeness. When being a witness for Christ, respect the person you are sharing with no matter what their viewpoint. When people are rude to you, be polite to them. In this way, you reflect the love of Christ. The Bible says, "Don't repay evil for evil but overcome evil with good."