In 1967 Aretha Franklin asked us to find out what respect meant to her. “Respect” earned Franklin two Grammys and Rolling Stone placed it at number five on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of all time. It was a huge song that addressed a huge issue.
This past weekend, Art also addressed the issue of respect. Now he didn’t sing about it, but he still shared about its importance. Art said that establishing healthy, loving relationships is the single most important issue in life. We need to have that kind of relationship with God and we need to have that kind of relationship with others.
Establishing that kind of relationship with God is all about spending time with him. We need to make the time to sit in his presence and simply be with him.
We can have a conversation with him, telling him about our day and bringing our requests to him.
We can put on a worship album and enter into God’s throne room on our commute to work.
We can go on a hike through the Etiwanda Preserve and simply take in the beauty of God’s creation.
Establishing a healthy, loving relationship with God is all about spending time with him. If you’re interested in finding different ways of spending time with God, speak to one of the pastors at church. You could also read a book like Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas, which is all about discovering how you best connect with God.
Our relationship with God isn’t the only relationship in our lives, though. We also need to address all the other relationships with spouses, children, siblings, friends and coworkers. If we want to be obedient to Jesus’ command to love people as well as we love God, then we need to establish healthy, loving relationships with them. And, as Art shared, Aretha had the key to establishing those kinds of relationships.
We need to act with respect towards everyone in our lives. If we can’t treat others with respect, then it’s almost impossible to have healthy relationships. And, even if we want to love others, if we don’t treat them with respect, then they’re not going to be very interested in loving us.
Art shared that respect in our marriages means making important decisions together, respect in our parenting means demonstrating care and encouragement, and respect in our sibling relationships means working together towards a common goal.
We could also break down respect as simply thinking of others before we think about ourselves. We disrespect others when we care more about our own needs and desires than those of others. So, from our spouse to a random person in the grocery store, we can show them respect by simply thinking of their needs before we think of our own.
If our spouse is having a busy week, we can show them respect by doing their laundry for them, even though we hate doing laundry.
At work, if a coworker needs help with a project, we can help him or her out, even if we don’t get any recognition.
At the store, we can put our shopping cart back, instead of leaving it in the middle of the parking lot.
We feel respected when other people place our needs above their own, and we can help other people feel respected by doing the same thing.