If you’re a parent, a teacher, an aunt or uncle, or even just a person who works with kids a lot, chances are that you have some drawings or coloring pages tacked up on the walls of your cubicle or on the side of your fridge. These may not be framed in a museum anytime soon but they are there because you know who made them. You value the kids who made them. You have a relationship with the people who made them.
To put it another way, you respect the art because you know the artist
During August, we’re talking about respect—showing others they are important by what you say and do. Honestly, it’s easy to respect a flawed painting when you value the person who made it. But when it comes to respecting people, it gets a bit messier.
This month our memory verse comes from 1 Peter 2:17. It just says, “Show proper respect to everyone.” Pretty simple.
But really, it’s not simple, is it? I mean. . . . Respect. Everyone?
If a painting has a few flaws, those are pretty easy to overlook. But people will do and say things that frustrate, anger or hurt us. People—especially those who have some level of authority—may ask us to do something we don’t want to do, or even worse, they may tell us not to do something we really want to do.
In fact, if you think about people only in terms of how they cooperate with what you want, it’s pretty much impossible to show respect. But if we stop and look at people with the knowledge that God made them, then we see things very differently. Suddenly, we can realize two incredible ideas.
First, that God made them.
Second, that God put them exactly where He wants them to be.
Unfortunately, knowing those two things doesn’t make respect any easier. It doesn’t mean that we will agree with everything our boss says. It doesn’t even mean that we submit in every situation—especially if it goes against God.
What it does mean, is that we can respect those who have temporary authority in this life, because we know the One who has the ultimate authority, and we trust Him.
Thankfully, the Bible incudes stories and principles that can help encourage us as we seek to show respect to everyone in our lives.
In Week 1, we’ll take a look at Matthew 8:5-13. Here, we meet a centurion whose servant is terribly sick. This powerful centurion goes straight to the one man he knows can help: Jesus! But when Jesus asks, “Shall I come and heal him?” the centurion shows unbelievable respect for God!
Our Bottom Line is: Respect God because He’s in charge of everything. God set the world in motion. Respect is the proper response to the awesome character of God.
For Week 2, we discover what Paul says about respect. He writes to the new believers in Rome. It wasn’t always easy living under Roman leadership, but in Romans 13:1-5, Paul gives them encouragement and reminds them that God put those people in charge for a reason.
Our Bottom Line is: Respect those who are in charge. When you respect those who are in charge, you’re actually showing respect toward God.
In Week 3, we take a look at 1 Samuel 24. We find David running from King Saul. David has the perfect opportunity to take care of King Saul but trusts God’s timing. David respects King Saul and spares His life.
Our Bottom Line is: Respect those who are in charge, even when they don’t deserve it. Not everyone in authority will deserve your respect all of the time. But God wants us to respect their position of authority and treat them with value as one created in God’s image.
In Week 4, we learn more about James 3:9-12. Our words can be used to glorify God one minute and talk bad about our friends the next. When we’re talking about Respect, often it’s our words that we really need to watch.
Our Bottom Line is: Respect others with your words. Our words have power. Let’s use them to value others and treat them with respect.
In Week 5, we’ll close out the month by returning to the book of James. In chapter 2:1-5 we’ll learn that with God it doesn’t matter what people look like on the outside. We should respect all people because they are valuable to God.
Our Bottom Line is: Respect others because they are important to God. Everyone has value because they were created in God’s image.
We hope that as kids discover what the Bible says about respect, that they’ll head into their new school year knowing they can respect those in charge because they know the One who’s in charge of everything.