The 10 + 1 Building Blocks Of Relationships: Respect
Welcome, Chris Vonada as he continues his series on the 10 + 1 Building Blocks of Relationships. Visit him often at www.chrisvonada.com and find his two new books on Amazon.
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Respect is sort of one of those backwards virtues... sometimes the more we want it and try to get it the farther it wanders away. Respect, like patience, often comes at times of adversity, and through humility. (Click To Tweet)
Maybe one of the more profound verses in the Bible regarding respect in relationships is this one...
"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
For whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from deceitful speech.
He must turn from evil and do good;
he must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
Who is is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for sons once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God." 1 Peter 3: 8-18
I know what you must be thinking, and you're right: That IS a lot of Bible! These verses are also chock full of good advice when it comes to relationships, and particularly in regards to respect. Thinking out loud... live in harmony, be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble, be a blessing, love life, do good, seek peace and pursue it, and do it all with gentleness and respect.
In my closest personal relationship with Julia, I learned more and I would say the level of respect and trust grew deeper in the last year during the time we were having trouble than during the good times. I believe that it is during times of adversity and stormy weather that we can see clearly what is in someone's heart, and who they really are. It often takes time to really see this clearly, and when it does, goodness appears bright as the midday sun... with the brilliance of a springtime bed of tulips, God's brilliant declaration of perennial love. Love is so often expressed from the heart through these 10 + 1 building blocks, and respect is possibly the most important expression of love.
Sometimes when we think of respect (and peace, for that matter) we may mistake it for a lack of conflict. That doesn't really reveal what's in our heart. Good, healthy hearts build relationships through long-term commitment... and these relationships grow like the tulip whenever there's mutual respect. Here's the most relevant idea of why respect is a part of 10 + 1: Respect is accomplished directly in one-on-one relationships. If one can't have a direct, personal relationship with someone, is there really any room for respect? For sure, I can respect and admire Bill Cosby for what he has accomplished in his lifetime, but I don't have (or need, for that matter) a direct relationship with him (just sayin'). Jesus is changing lives every day, one person at a time, through verses like those shared above, and through direct, personal relationships with people just like you and me. That's super exciting!
We can further expand and apply this broadly, to all of our relationships. From there, respect could extend out as a trait developed through and within a team, and within the body of Christ... but, like our relationship with Jesus, it all falls back to a one-on-one relationship... the one that is most important! Once we get that part straight, we have the opportunity to dream big, ask God boldly, and experience the synergy found through the one body of believers.
Speaking of two lips, respect really hits a home run here...
Love in truth and in action. 1 John 3:18-22
I believe it is through difficult situations and trials that we get to see what's inside a person's heart, and that we can grow closer in our love, respect and trust for each other.