Respect- to esteem or regard favorably, to give a sense of worth or value to a person- to hold in honor- to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with…
We are to respect God, to think highly and favorably of Him. We honor God because He is worthy as the Creator of the universe. We value God and honor God when we honor and respect those who are created in His image. Respect by definition comes from a place of love and value for a person. This is why we cannot be disrespectful to a person and then say we love them.
We are to respect people because they were formed by God for the express purpose of carrying Him image. To disrespect people who are created in the image of God is to disrespect God! People may say they respect or love a person but hate their children or family, this cannot be. Either they will love them and their children or hate them, but they cannot do both in truth. They may need that person or want them, but they love themselves more. Some may speak words of love and respect, but in their heart there is animosity. Some may even deceive themselves into believing they can love God while hating and disrespecting their brothers, but God’s word says this cannot be so.
How can we say we love God whom we have not seen and hate our brother whom we have seen? The answer is we cannot. Someone who has hatred in their heart for anyone, no matter the reason, the love for God is not in them.
1 john 4:20-21 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
This is not to say we have not been wronged. It is these painful and cruel things that Satan would use to tempt us with the thought that we have every right to hate. People are blinded by Satan to the truth of God’s word and many even live in self-deception. Sometimes we deceive ourselves into believing we are either justified in our hate or God understands what we have been through and He would not require us to forgive these people. This too is a tactic of the enemy, to get the people of God to deny God’s truth and live a lie that is rooted in Satan’s hatred of God.
2 Corinthians 4: 3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
Those who decide to go their own way and refuse to love they refuse the truth of God’s word and are perishing. They may not realize their minds are being blinded by Satan, the prince of this world system, and their life is headed for destruction. Self-deception is one of the hardest lies to overcome, because we have trained our minds to believe we are right and therefore close our minds to the truth. The only way to come out of this darkness is to let the light of God’s word shine into our hearts and minds.
1 John 3: 10-11 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,
We must practice the righteousness of God which is faith in Jesus’ completed work for our salvation. This is not our works of attending church, visiting the sick or just reading our Bibles. It is a relationship with God through the life of Jesus. It is accepting God’s love for us through faith in Jesus and the understanding of His Word. True faith gives us the love we need for others by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is not a thing that can be done by the natural man. This love for others is how the children of God will be known. Because they show love they are distinguished from the children of the devil and people of this world. The love we show to the undeserving displays the God in us.
1 John 3: 14-17 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
It is when we show love to all those who are created in the image of God we give witness to the love of God that is in us. If we hate others, Jesus says we have committed murder. This is a hard but powerful statement and it is the truth of God’s word. Jesus came and saved us out of our sinful state, while we were looking and acting like Satan. Jesus died the death on the cross to redeem us back as children of God. As children of God we are to lay down the hurt, pain and injustices we have received from others just as Jesus did for us.
Jesus did not want to die. He even asked the Father to take that cup away from Him and yet He submitted Himself to God’s will. We too, in our flesh do not want go through the process of forgiving others who misuse and abuse us. We also, must submit our will to God just as Jesus did and ask Him to give us the love we need for those who have wronged us. In this God will be glorified in that situation.
1 John 3: 18 My little children let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth
We are told to show the love of God in our actions not just in words. Many can talk a good game, saying all manner of lovely things, but God tells us to demonstrate this love by our actions. Love gives of itself. God so loved the world He gave His only Son. When we see someone with a need we are to take from our abundance and help those who are without.