We seem to be stuck on the first definition. “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” Thus, if we do not admire their abilities, qualities, or achievements, many feel they do not owe them respect. But respect is more than admiration the dictionary further defines respect as “due regard for the feelings wishes, rights, or traditions of others.”
Respect is a gift we give to someone else. It is an act of recognizing their individual rights over our own. In order to do that, we have to give up our rights. There seems to be an insurgence of the ideology that, respect can be demanded. Forced respect is not respect at all.
The root of all of this still remains to be sin. It is inherent in our sinful nature. The desire to take for ourselves is the very nature of sin. We love being given gifts, but we abhor not having control to get what we want when we want it. When we don’t get what we want we often feel neglected or ignored.
All too often we find ways to try and change that even to the point of demanding our rights. But it is Epiphany and the people sitting in darkness have seen a “Great Light”. The great creator of the universe has choose to set aside his rights. He chooses to become like us. He chooses to become the suffering servant. He gives up his right to be called the son of God and gives that right to us. Why? Is it because of our great achievements? No, it is because he chooses to love us. But in giving us the right to be call sons of God he also gives us the call to be like him. To be like him we too lay down our rights to give them to others. Not because they deserve them, but because Christ’s loves compels us.
It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. Phil 2:13-16
And so my friends I too encourage you to “Shine like the stars.”