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Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy
Show some respect for everyone
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    I want to tell you a story involving a close friend, a Christian woman who does her best to follow Jesus’ admonition in the Sermon on the Mount: “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12, NASV) At the time, my friend was a graduate student, just as her classmates were. The professor assigned her the same work on the group project. The only significant difference between her and them was an age difference. But, in spite of the fact that the age contrast gave her a good deal more life experience, the attitude exhibited toward her by her team members was one of disrespect, demonstrated by their almost total disregard for her. As far as their actions were concerned, she wasn’t even a part of the team working together. They didn’t necessarily insult her intentionally. But the rudeness was present, nevertheless. Of course, even though their lack of respect hurt and confused her, being the Christian lady she is, she never revealed her feelings to them.
    Perhaps this wouldn’t be quite so bad if it weren’t so widespread.  And it’s not just an age-difference thing, either.  In virtually every age group, members of our society demonstrate an almost total preoccupation with self and a corresponding lack of respect for others who might be different in some insignificant way.
    Some will suggest that this is “much-to-do-about-nothing” and that my friend should learn to just “get over it.” There’s some truth in the latter idea – we shouldn’t dwell on slights and discourtesies to the point of distraction. Also, some may think this kind of thinking is old-fashioned or even quaint – and it may be. After all, Jesus preached the mountain-side sermon mentioned above some 1, 930 years ago. But some things – like good manners and respect for others – really shouldn’t go out of style.
    Jesus not only taught the value of being respectfulness...he practiced it. Wherever he went, the Savior of the world showed respect for others, even his enemies. Peter, one of his apostles, followed his example by teaching us to “Show proper respect to everyone....” He followed this with “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” (1 Pet. 2:17, 18) In some cases, it will be difficult. But it is how God wants us to live and treat others – with love and regard for the fact that they are made in his image.
    A large part of the problem may be due to the neglect with which some have treated this area of conduct. We have a huge responsibility toward children, and the values of courtesy and respect for others, like most life-principles, must be emphasized early and often, and reinforced by the good examples of those to whom children naturally look for guidance.     Let’s do our best to give them the teaching and example they need to learn to show respect for others in every situation.
    Larry Sheehy is the preaching minister at Statesboro Church of Christ. He can be reached at (912) 764-5269 or
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