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Devotional: June 11, 2021

Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.

Ephesians 5:21 The Message

Respect is something we all appreciate and desire. It is the foundation for a polite and courteous society. Unfortunately, it feels like it is in short supply these days. It is one thing to disagree with someone who has a different opinion. It is another to be rude, disrespectful and cruel. However, that seems like acceptable behavior to some in our society! Respect for those of divergent viewpoints feels like a rare commodity these days.

The thinking which undergirds this lack of respect often goes as follows: “Well, I would respect them if they were worthy of my respect. However, they are not, so I will not respect them.” Thus, a cycle of disrespect, akin to the cycle of anger, begins.

Paul envisions those who follow Christ motivated by their relationship with Him. In other words, if we love Christ, then we ought to follow His commandments. This includes His command to love one another. Jesus encouraged us to love even our enemies. Therefore, we should be courteous, respectful, and yes, even reverent towards other people.

Christ loved us first, so that we may love others. Rather than the circle of escalating insults and disrespect, why don’t we turn the circle around? What if we respected someone else first? They might respond positively to that respect, and then return that respect.

When we show love, respect, and courtesy in a disrespectful world, we are the salt in the midst of a bland world. We are to be the light in darkness. This is our exact calling as followers of Christ. May we pursue it.

Prayer

Loving and Holy Lord,

I must confess that there are times when I have been disrespectful towards others. I have mirrored the world’s disrespectful ways. Forgive me, Lord. Help me to do better. Remind me that my relationship with You should dictate my behavior in every relationship, regardless of the behavior of the other person. May I be a vessel of love, even in a world of apathy. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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