British Field Marshal Edmund Allenby (also a Bible scholar) was renowned for conquering Beersheba and Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks, in World War i. On Dec. 11, 1917, as he entered Jerusalem, he got off his horse and took off his hat as an act of respect for the Holy City and entered Jerusalem on foot.
Worldly armies require respect as a normal part of discipline and protocol. Men and women in the services salute their officers, and officers are required to return their salutes.
Men used to raise their hats to ladies, give up their seats and open doors for them, let them go first, and generally showed chivalry and good manners. Children respected their elders and it was expected as normal.
Not so today. This modern society has largely given up on those “old” practices. Our youth in each successive generation behave more and more proudly against the ancient.
God inspired Herbert W. Armstrong to use the motto “recapture true values” for Ambassador College. Respect is one of these values, which the Philadelphia Church of God upholds and emphasizes within the Church, Imperial Academy and Herbert W. Armstrong College.
The Apostle Paul warned in 2 Timothy 3 that our generation would be without natural affection, that evil men and seducers would get worse and worse, and that violence would fill our civilization. That is being fulfilled right now.
While the world becomes worse and worse, we need to become better and better in our interpersonal relationships both with God and man. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). That is a command from God to all of us. Recapturing the true value of respect is our responsibility as we prepare to teach it in the soon-coming Kingdom of God.
Respect Toward God
God commands that we respect Him. His name is to be hallowed (Matthew 6:9). “[H]oly and reverend is his name” (Psalm 111:9). Incidentally, these words are not some religious minister’s title. God is our Holy Father, and it is an insult to Him for any human being to be called by His title.
Disrespect toward God and His servants carries a heavy penalty. In 2 Kings 2 we read the account of a gang of youths who mocked God’s servant, Elisha. They disrespectfully called him “baldy” and mocked that he should “go up” (as in a whirlwind as Elijah had just experienced). They were actually disrespecting God, not just Elisha. Elisha cursed them in God’s name, and two hostile, fleet-footed, female bears came out of a nearby forest and savaged these delinquent hoodlums. They were torn in pieces by razor-sharp claws —a terrible consequence!
Mankind was made in the image of God, and all humans have the incredible potential to become future members of the God Family. In John 10:34, Christ quoted Psalm 82:6: “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” Isn’t that good reason for all people to be treated with human dignity and due respect by all other humans? In so doing, we also show respect toward God for His greatest creation: His eternal Family.
God says He is not a respecter of persons. Does that mean He does not value respect? No, He means that, unlike man, He is not prejudiced but is impartial and unbiased in all His judgments.
If we are led by God’s Spirit, we also will not be respecters of persons in our judgments, but will offer due respect and due dignity to all those we come in contact with, whether within the Church, at home, at work or anywhere else.
Respect uplifts both the giver and receiver and is the spirit underlying the Ten Commandments.
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3). That’s the principle to follow because it is the “give” way and a characteristic of God’s mind.
We need to ensure that our children are taught respect and that respect is reinforced in the family.
How You Can Improve the Culture of Respect Within Your Family
Parents must first demonstrate respect for God and also show respect toward each other. Children will learn more by the example set by their parents than any other way. To parents God says in Ephesians 6:4, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath [frustration or resentment]: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Show them respect and require the same from them, especially when they are corrected. When an adult asks your children a question, let them answer. Don’t step in and do it for them as if they cannot answer properly or may embarrass you.
When greeting someone, always look them in the eye. If a handshake is appropriate, offer a firm one. The senior should generally extend his or her hand first. Some people think it is inappropriate for ladies to shake hands and that it is a “man’s” thing. This is not so. It is proper etiquette that when a man greets a lady, he should wait for her to extend her hand first. If one were invited to Buckingham Palace, he would not be presumptuous and offer a handshake, but wait for the Queen to extend her royal hand and speak when spoken to.
Address another person by name or title, otherwise “Sir” or “Ma’am,” “Mr.” or “Mrs.”—never “Mate,” “Love” or “Hey there.” Do not be presumptuous or take liberties in calling seniors by their first name unless you are invited to, and even then, use caution. Ministers and wives within the Church should be addressed as “Mr.” and “Mrs.”
Children should refer to and address adults by “Mr.”, “Mrs.” or “Miss,” or by their title. Adults should not invite children to call them by their first name, because it fosters disrespect and encourages taking liberties. Children should be reminded until it becomes natural. Look to the spirit and give people greater respect rather than less.
Don’t talk over others nor focus the discussion on yourself. Remember to “esteem others better than yourself.” Avoid informal replies such as “Yep,” “Nope,” “Dunno,” etc. Uplift others in conversation by listening and keeping it positive.
Be punctual. Arriving late shows disrespect to your hosts and other guests alike and is drawing attention to oneself.
Dress and groom appropriately for the occasion to honor your hosts and other guests. At services our host is Almighty God our Father and Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church. Wear your best. Good grooming includes pressed clothes, clean shoes and neat, tidy hair.
Learn and practice good table manners.
Show respect for every member of the family and “rise up before the hoary head” (Leviticus 19:32).
Respect your property by dressing and keeping it inside and out. It is a reflection of your mind.
Recapture the true value of respect!
This character trait starts in the mind and grows with habit. The more you show respect toward God and man, the more you will receive it back in proportion!