Where does respect begin?
‘Pay to all what is owed: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.’ Romans 13:7 ESV
My father was a Senior Master Sergeant in the US Air Force. This meant when he said ‘Jump’, I asked ‘How high?’ on the way up! Dad worked hard at telling me he loved me. He said it often. However, Dad struggled mightily. His voice that said ‘Love’, was the same voice that violently yelled at me. Over time I learned that because of the weaknesses of my grandfather, my father wrestled with deep insecurities and anger.
As I matured, disrespect for my father grew within me. I wanted to be my own master, call my own shots. Dad and I clashed often. I did not notice that I had inherited his spiritual DNA of anger. This familial anger and disrespect was growing. It was not until I embraced Jesus and was baptized in water and the Holy Spirit, that my outlook towards Dad changed. I began to see we both had feet of clay. The SMSgt was the father the Lord gave me. I became convicted that if I was to honor the Lord, I had to choose to honor my earthly father.
As I chose, moment by moment, to overlook my Dad’s shortcomings (as my Father in heaven forgets mine!), honoring and respecting Dad became a pleasant habit. In turn, God honored my efforts. He restored a relationship that our enemy had attempted to destroy. As I chose to honor the Lord by honoring my Dad, my inheritance of anger had no further hook in me. I could choose respect and refuse to feed the power of dishonor. I now had a new inheritance; a new spiritual DNA.
[1 Samuel 5] During a season when the nation of Israel chose to dishonor and disrespect the Lord, their enemy the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark represented the presence of the Lord. The victorious Philistines took the Ark of God and brought it to the house of their god Dagon.
When the Philistines arose the next morning, they found the image of Dagon had fallen with his face on the ground before the Ark. The Philistines physically stood him back up. Dagon had no choice but to fall before the Ark, but the Philistines chose to prop him back up. So the next morning, the Philistines found Dagon not only fallen down before the Ark again, but his head and hands were removed.
Dagon, unclean spirits, animals, plants, and elements must respect the Lord. They have no choice. I must choose respect & honor. All that is good originates with God the Father. The Father wants me to choose respect & honor.
The origin of our respect for ourselves, each other and all of mankind begins with the respect & honor we choose to give to the Lord. As Kingdom men, we make that choice many times in spite of what is swirling around our heads and in our hearts.
Respect originates with honoring our Father’s command to love and serve Him first. Out of this choice, comes an overflow. An overflow choice to honor our parents, wives, all others, and even those who collect taxes.