Earning Respect

This is a topic that needs to be expressed.

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matt 7:1-2)

Why is this teaching of importance? It lays the foundation for the way we are to judge our ways – and also it’s recompense if used in a way that is ‘un-even’. It is basically the idea ‘treat others how you want to be treated’ encapsualted in another form – both a gift and a warning.

The gift is the ability to be able to judge our lives compared to the teachings and make the best decisions we see possible. We will develop standards by which we live our lives and those will reflect onto our neighbor – and it’s best we develop a great working standard.

The warning is quite clear – how we judge – it will be used back against us – which is fair and equitable if you think about it. But it also lets us into the problem with judging based on a ‘less than well rounded’ perspective…we will be held in the same measure in other’s eyes.

The process works, from my living of it anyways, we always get what we put into something. If I judge you without knowing the full scenario (or not hearing all angles of the problem at hand) – then the judgment is bound to be skewed and off-centre. It is better to not judge at all than to say something – if you ask me.

But respect is also part of the process – if we are kind in what we do – people will ask our opinions and seek us out for help…because we are respected in their eyes. You do not get there by using measures and standards that are un-just and un-even – you get there by hearing all sides of a story and reserving an opinion until asked. Also what actions do we take on behalf of the person asking – that is truly the fulfillment of this idea.

My family has a pastor friend that used to be very close to us – in fact – we all respected him for his guidance and his wisdom. Now, that same pastor – years later – has words that are hollow and dull – without much meaning or authority. How did he get there? It’s quite easy – his judgments on certain people and on various scenarios were quite skewed and not just. As he earned his respect he also was able to lose it. He made judgments on scenarios where he did not hear the whole story – but the one he wanted to hear.

That’s what I learned about life – we are to people the authority they will allow of us. I think this is something Jesus understood quite well – he was ‘given’ authority – it was not something he conjured up – being given it was like earning it. That’s why Jesus could give a teaching like this in the first place – because he must of knew we all get what we deserve for our treatment of others…and if we do this right – people will want to ask us questions out of respect.

And this is the reason, in the blog world, I respect a lot of people opinions and what they have to say – because they have proven themselves to me as people worthy of being shared with. I think of Yael, my Jewish friend, and her words of wisdom and her valuable teachings on the Tanakh – a perspective on their texts I cannot find in the Christian realm…and she has always treated me with kindness and decency. Many of the bloggers here are like that – we respect one another – even in our disagreeances – we can still shake hands and laugh together. I am thankful to be surrounded by such people.

You shall walk in all the way which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess” (Deut 5:33)

Maybe the commandments and teachings are about life – and how we seek it and recieve it.


10 thoughts on “Earning Respect

  1. None of us can see to judge if we are blinded by our own sin. If we are going to step out and tell another they are wrong, we’d better spend some time looking critically within first. There is nothing more disgusting than a religious hypocrite and when we judge others according to a standard that is higher than the one we’ve set for ourselves, then we are a hypocrite. Also, if we do the things ourselves that we point out as wrong in another, we are a hypocrite. We also should remember that while we are capable of judging as to wether or not certain words or actions are right or wrong, we can’t judge the heart of another and know for a surety the intent behind their words or actions. Only God can see the inward man clearly and read his most secret thoughts.

  2. Amen Jason

    I come from a competitive world, a sporting world, a fighting world. I am learning to release the parts of those worlds that may distance me from others, but the one thing I cherish from them is that fact that I can meet my debater or opponent in the ring and leave it all there. After which we go for a pint and share some laughter. Oh and definately the good beer 😉

  3. I just watched an interesting piece on Jesus in China on PBS http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/china705/

    It made me wonder what type of faith I would have if I was there? I heard some of the stories and a lot of it got me thinking. These people, even in the midst of persecution, were so happy to have faith – I was like ‘awesome’! They mentioned how faith and capitalism or socialism could blend due to the values taught by Christianity – and I thought ‘of course – the values’! They had a service that was like a party – man does that ever lack in our faith here (that unity and sharing). I felt so happy for those people – it made me realize how great faith can be.

  4. I really like that verse from the Bible, because it demonstrates how much of a role we play in the judgements we pass. We must be careful in how we judge, because the standard we use to judge others will be the same standard used in judging us. We almost determine how the judgement will play out, and not just of the other person, but of ourselves, as well.

    It really calls on you to analyze your own moral groundwork, and dig in deep to see where the judgement is coming from.

    I think Pam is hitting on something important, in that there’s judging the action, and there’s judging the person behind the action. The action itself is what we should focus on more, in how the action affects ourselves and the person acting. But the person themselves, their status in terms of God, or the world, or even their place in life right now — that requires a great deal of caution.

  5. Respect is an interesting concept to discuss. I suppose that we could have 1000’s of different definitions for the concept and the one thing that would be sure is, we immediatley recognize when respect is shown and also when disrespect is shown.

    In First Nations mindset the concept of respect is easily the number one value or attribute a person or group can have and show. My understanding of the term comes from that heritage. For me respect means – to take a a person, thing, or situation for what he/she or it is at the moment. After that initial meeting or contact, more respect is then earned, or respect is lost, depending on the nature of the encounter. A certain level of respect is always shown. For the linear thinkers, basically everything starts at 1 and people or things go up a point or two, or drop down a point or two.

    I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone else, but it works for me.

    As for that pastor friend guy. I have compassion for him. He means well and I think he wants to make things right, but sadly he goes about it in a manner that just makes things worse. You have to admire his gift of persistence, but persistently making the same mistake is not a good use of that gift.

  6. dude! well stated and well said. we may disagree but we don’t have to be disagreable (oh no! a quote from barack! he’s an obamanation! ;-))

    i love what you bring to the table the unique insights we garner here. this is my idea of heaven.

    John 17:21: That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”

    we are one in Christ.. and if you don’t believe in Christ, we’re still one within our humanity. RAWK

  7. Jason,

    I haven’t heard quite a quality interpretation of that verse as you’ve laid out here. I usually hear it taken quite out of context, most people using it to forbid any judging at all by others. Jesus didn’t forbid judging. In another place he said, “judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” If our judgment is righteous, then it is fine. But it can even be a right judgment done in a wrong, or unrighteous, manner. When our judgment is just, and it has taken the time and experience to foster itself in the right way, then we will have respect of others. Nobody will be able to use our words against us because they are good.

  8. I think it is important that so that we don’t become prideful. That we might show mercy and compassion where possible. That we might realize how difficult it can be to be merciful. That we might understand the perfect nature of God a bit better, and appreciate what He has done for us.

  9. “When our judgment is just, and it has taken the time and experience to foster itself in the right way, then we will have respect of others. Nobody will be able to use our words against us because they are good.” (Steve Scott)

    I agree – it’s not like as humans we will not judge things – this is almost so core to our nature it is impossible to avoid. The arts are only made that much better by our ability to judge and reason with them…we make a call on what something means to us and how deep that meaning is. I also see that with faith. I still think judging someone is not the best precedent – but I am aware – that we need to judge scenarios for our advice to have any meaning.

    “That we might show mercy and compassion where possible. That we might realize how difficult it can be to be merciful.” (Steve Martin)

    I think this is very key in being someone that is just in their use of judging something – the idea of mercy is one of the key teachings of Jesus in the beatitudes (and that same teaching reads like ‘treat other how you want to be treated’)…basically if we want mercy then we are to show mercy. Mercy is a form of judgment – and I think one of the first places we are to seek out when approaching a situation – compassion of course being it’s sidekick. At least, that’s how I read the teachings – love is among everything we do (which includes mercy and compassion in tough situations).

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