In “respect is a man’s deepest value”, Emerson reports on a national survey in which 400 men were asked which they could endure better: (a) to be left alone and unloved in the world, or (b) to feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone. Seventy-four percent said they would prefer being left alone and unloved over feeling inadequate and disrespected.( Love and Respect pgs 49-52)
This one paragraph hit so close to home that I feel the stab in my back right between the shoulder blades. At the drop of a hat I will respond to the call to war , to protect home and family. Does this mean that I like to fight? That would be a greatly overstated. However God has wired us men that it is not common for us to back down from a good fight or better stated the action of backing down is the result of the suppression of manliness. Men what does that say about us? To fight and lose is the same as to fight and win. This is called respect. I do not win all my fights in life. I have lost the battle of pride many times. I have lost the battle with lust many more times. I have lost the battle with bitterness and coldness toward others. I have acted in an unloving way to my neighbor, friends, family, wife and my God. I still come back swinging to be humble before my God. A man is not measured by the battles he loses but the number of times he gets back up and comes back swinging. The most boring boxing matches is the one that does not last one round. However respect goes to both men for getting in the ring. We all want to see a long battle that shows the determination of each man willing to stay the course. Truly does it matter who wins? No! except to the bookie and the betting men who do not have the courage to get in the ring! I am not a great fan of boxing or fighting sports but I am a man and I can relate to the why they do what they do. No man truly wants anything other than respect and if respect is not coming leave us alone.
We are instructed as men to live in such a way that we do not bring dishonor or disrespect first to God and then to ourselves. Respect is the highest measure of God for it produces Glory. Many times in the scripture we are told to Fear God. The English language is too subjective for this expression. To fear God we recognize that He is supreme in intelligence, power, and might. Everyman esteems to have all three of these qualities. To possess them is wisdom and respect. Some of the most powerful men that have walked on this earth did not have physical stature to move mountains and yet they moved mountains. Power is found in the arm and chest. Power is also found in the intellect. Might is found in the stature of a man. Might is also found in the temper of a man. This is illustrated with diamonds which possess power and hardness. What can match the power and hardness of a diamond? The fear of God is our view of His intelligence, power and might.
And fear not them which destroy the body, but are not able to destroy the spirit: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both spirit and body in hell. Mat_10:28
Many have been harsh with this passage. Jesus is speaking to us men on a very personal level. Who do you respect? The same is said of poisonous snakes, lions, bears, crocodiles, and sharks. Make your own list. We give them space for the reason of respect. They have the power to wreck havoc on our body. They are worthy of this respect. You can call this fear if you must. The respect is not found in what they do instead what they are capable of doing.
Now the million dollar question: What does God require? He requires the same thing all of us men do, who is made in His image and likeness. Respect! You want respect? Be respectable. God the Father gave us Jesus as an example of being respectable. He loved, He cried, and He laughed. He walked on water not to prove that He is God but to show us that we can do mighty things in His name. Ask Peter! He healed the lame, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf not to prove that He is God but to show us that we have the power to have compassion on the needy and fix broken things. He gave life to the dead not to prove that He is God, but to show us that life is in our words for the building up of those who are around us. Ask Martha. He gave His life on the Cross innocent of every charge brought against Him not as a show of weakness or frailty but as a show of strength found in mercy. Ask the thief beside him on the Cross! This mercy is to be our strength in this messy world. He was buried in a borrowed grave to show us that our life is not about the monument raised in our name because this is not the end but the beginning. He arose from the Dead to show us that as God he has shown the way through the grave and blazed a trail to greater things than we have ever known. He appeared to the disciples who testify that grave could not hold him and death could not defeat the power of God and that we to are victorious through Him. We are a victorious people who though we may lose battles WIN THE WAR. He did this for you and so much more. This is RESPECT. This is GLORY.
Men we all want respect. Fact is we need respect. We are wired for respect. Respect begins with a relationship with Christ and following the example He has set before us. What this means is that we fight for character and integrity. We evaluate our lives and take corrective actions to be men of faith, men of courage, men of honor, and men of integrity. We go through the furnace and temper our words and actions. We do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God!