Respect. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, because I’ve been attempting to get it across to my school students that if they respect each other, there is little need for other rules. Today I went a little deeper and looked at what the Bible has to say about this subject. Here’s some of what I found and my current thoughts on the subject.

First let’s define respect. According to the dictionary, it means “due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others; politeness, courtesy, civility, deference; honor, esteem, feel or show honour or esteem for, care, consideration, to care for, show consideration for.” Basically, be nice to others even if they aren’t exactly like you in every area. Is that so hard?

Now, the Bible doesn’t say much about “respect” but it does talk a lot about honour. Honor according to the dictionary, means “nobleness of mind, a nice sense of what is right or proper; great respect, high regard; respect highly, think highly of; show respect to; be an honor too.” In this blog post, I am using the Bible word honour in place of the more familiar word respect. I believe they have a lot of the same connotations. 

According to the Bible dictionary, honour means “of the price paid or received for a person or thing bought or sold; of the honour which belongs or is shown to one, of the honour which one has by reason of rank and state of office which he holds.” Think about this for a bit, “the price paid or received for a person bought.” What was the price paid for us? Jesus died on the cross for every single one of us!! How valuable does that make us? And if we view every other person as having that same value how could we do anything else but show them respect?

Matthew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” The Golden Rule. This is a basic rule of human rights and expectations. Everyone wishes to be treated with respect and kindness. If everyone treated everyone around them as they themselves wish to be treated, our world would be a much better place.

Romans 12:10 “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour.” This is how we as Christians should act. Outdo in this verse carries the idea of being a leader. It means “to go before and show the way; to go before as a leader.” We should attempt to be the leaders in showing value to others, everyone. Every human being has the same value as the next one, from the worst criminal in prison to the most influential king. All humans were paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. That price gives them value. When they accept Jesus as their personal Saviour, they become sons of God. This puts them in an honourable position, which is just another reason to show them honour.

Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” 

Titus 2:7 “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show, integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” Wow! That is a high standard! In ALL respects we are too be a model of good conduct. Part of this good conduct is to show honour. If you always show honour and respect, who could condemn you for that?

I Peter 2:17 “Honour everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the emperor.” Honour in this verse carries the additional meaning of “to fix the value of something belonging to one’s self.” If something belongs to you, you are more likely to treat it with respect. Christians are a family, your family. Treat them with respect due to family members! 

John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” Love is part of honour as well. We cannot honor others if we have no love for them. Like the song says “They will know we are Christians by our love.” I think sometimes we don’t do such a good job at demonstrating our love for each other.

Romans 13:10 “Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law.” 

I Thessalonians 5:12-13 “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.” Honor those in positions with authority.

I Corinthians 12:24b-26 “But God has composed the body, giving greater honour to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all members rejoice together.” I believe these verses hold some very valuable keys for us as we learn to always honor others. We might be tempted to look down on someone because they are different from us or less honorable in our estimation. But who are we to say who is less? All humans are created equal; therefore all equally worthy of our honor and respect. 

This is something we’ve been working on in my classroom. Currently, if they are all respectful and do not earn any consequences for a whole week as a class, they will all be honored. If, however, one person is disrespectful, the whole class will suffer with them by not being able to attain to the honor in store for them. This way they learn that their disrespect does not only negatively affect them but it also affects the whole team. This builds an atmosphere of positive peer pressure to do the right thing. 

Girls side of my classroom

Boys and younger grades side

Respect others and they will be more likely to respect you. Annoyed with rules and guidelines that seem unnecessary? If everyone walked in respect to each other, most rules and guidelines would become moot points. If a first grader can understand and know what is respectful and what isn’t, so can you as an adult. 

When you are respectful of others opinions and beliefs, they are more willing to respect yours. You do not have to agree with someone to be respectful to them. Example: I am a Mennonite who tends to the more liberal side of the spectrum, but most of the students in my school are Amish. Their parents are Amish. We dress differently and probably believe differently on some things, but that does not stop us from working together just fine. We have mutual respect for each other. And our outward appearances have never been an issue. We worship the same Jesus and side by side we work together towards the same goal of advancing the kingdom of God. Respect works! (And baffles those who receive it from the unexpected places like someone completely different from them.)

Go out and be respectful!!

*All verses taken from ESV Bible.


Born to Stand Out

I was born to stand out. And only within the last couple years have i actually become ok with it.

Growing up I used to feel so odd and out of place. I grew up with four brothers and five boy cousins that were basically my brothers. I barely interacted with girls until eighth grade when I was stuck in a classroom full of girls. I used to beg God to change me into a boy. I did not want to be a girl.

I thought I didn’t fit with the girls. I was too loud and energetic. I didn’t care about clothes or hairstyles or shoes. I was a tough kid who was fiercely independent and protective. Snakes didn’t scare me. Neither did spiders. I didn’t care about guys or having crushes. I would rather be out playing football or climbing trees with the guys than sewing or cooking or other things that I thought of as “girly” things.

I’m sure that sometimes my mom despaired of me ever being careful with my clothes. I was constantly getting grass and dirt stains, and tearing my dresses. Part of me rebelled against the what I viewed as a typical girl from the church I grew up in. I viewed girls as weaklings who were only there for others to use. That had been my experience. So I tried everything in my power to rebel against that. But at the same time I wanted to fit in.

I got tired of being known as the tomboy who was rough and tumble. The girl who never cried or had sad emotions. I was told I needed to be more serious. People thought I had no problems because I was happy all the time.

I got my first job when I was thirteen. I delivered papers. I was the only girl in my church that worked at that young. I had dreams and I pursued them with a passion. I became a CNA when I was just 16 and worked thru my senior year of school.

When I was 18, I started looking at colleges in order to pursue my dream of eventually becoming a paramedic. I was told, “Don’t go to college. You’ll lose your faith. They’re too liberal. You’re a girl. You’re to weak to go to college.” So, I decided to go to Bible school. Since, apparently that was acceptable for a Mennonite girl.

At Bible school, I did have a lot of fun. But once again felt very out of place. Girls accused me of being a flirt and being too friendly with the guys. I spent hours agonizing over this and went on long walks with my friend who was being accused of the same things. We’d spend hours walking and talking. We also asked one of our really good guy friends what he thought. It was one of the hardest, most awkward times in my life. I was glad to come home again.

After that I moved to Canada to be a schoolteacher. I loved that job! I loved my students! Once again I didn’t fit. I was a schoolteacher whereas all my housemates were involved in other ways and not with the school at all. I never knew what my role was outside of school. School days were my happiest times. When I left there, I was more upset about leaving my students and my co-teacher than my housemates or anyone else.

I moved to Pennsylvania next. I bounced from house to house, family to family, church to church. But God started working on me, showing me that it was ok to stand out and not fit in. {Plus He was radically changing my heart and setting me free from tons of garbage that had accumulated in my heart.}

Then I started enjoying not fitting in. People would ask me, “What church do you go to?” And I’d answer, “Several different ones. Petra. Life. A house church. Shenandoah. Myerstown Mennonite.” It just depended where I had an invitation. That would frustrate people so much tho because then they had no box to put me in. 🙂

Eventually I moved back to Oregon, where I started college, pursuing my paramedic dream. But even there I didn’t fit in. Only now I was ok with it. A born-again, skirt-wearing, head-covering Christian girl attending an extremely liberal community college? Yeah. I didn’t fit. 🙂

Now I work as an EMT. I go to a small community church. I attend college. I volunteer with Molalla Fire and Mountain Wave Search abd Rescue. I have an amazing Papa God and a crazy amazing life.

Even though I still feel like I don’t fit in, I’m mostly ok with it.God uses my standing out to make people ask questions. It’s all good. {However, I am still human and some days I long to fit in and not be noticed for being different.}

i guess I write this all to challenge you. Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to stand out. It’s really ok.