Let me explain: Over the last several days, I have been yelled at over the phone by two different people while asking for services I needed. Verbal bashings are not something I’m familiar with. I cannot remember the last time someone yelled at me! So back to my question, does the rising mercy have anything to do with these tongue lashings? Lashings I believe were unprovoked yet left me feeling disrespected and off-center none the less?
After feeling so disrespected, I started thinking – what does the Bible say about respect?
Peter speaks on the subject in his first epistle, “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor” (NIV, 1 Peter 2:17). We see in this single passage that there are four areas of our lives that are addressed. Christians are to respect:
- all men and woman
- other Christians
- Governmental authority
The Greek word for respect is timesate which literally means “to place a great value or high price upon something.” Yet, in our modern, secular, “me-focused” world we are taught to place value on our own personal rights above the rights of others. It is from this slant I will focus on the first scriptural charge of showing proper respect to everyone–no matter the situation!
Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:33 and Jesus in Luke 10:33-34 each teach Christians how to extend God-ordained respect to everyone. They teach that we are to love and respect regardless of color, nationality, opinions, and religious affiliations and even when it is not convenient to do so. We are to understand that God created all people in His image (Gen 1:27) regardless of whether they believe in Christ or not. We are to show proper respect and honor to all because every soul is of more value than anything else we might consider more important and that even includes our own feelings and rights!
But quite frankly this is where I was getting tripped up! Were these two people forgetting the contractual rights I had to request the services not to mention my rights to be treated with respect because I was their paying customer? Since I had made my requests to each of these companies in the same way for years I couldn’t at first fathom where all this hostility was coming from?
Yet as I listened to the weather forecast explaining the extreme emergency weather conditions we are experiencing, I decided the cause could likely be due to this first true heat wave of the summer because their uncharacteristic anger and out-right refusal to even consider my requests was so foreign to how we have interacted in the past.
Statistics show as temperatures get hotter–so do our tempers. Summer heat waves make us act cranky and whiny and crime rates climb. The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation of New York explains the phenomenon like this; as one’s body temperature increases there is an increase in physical agitation because the heart rate and blood pressure go up as the body tries to cool itself off.
Well, this can be bad news for each of us as we dive into the scorching summer months because this increase in physical agitation can and does cause each of us to overreact by acting out aggressively and irrationally. It is also important to realize the situation is made worse when our bodies become under-hydrated or dehydrated.
So during the hot weather ahead, I plan to not only hydrate but more importantly to remember these verses. I want to be mindful of why tempers might be short, remembering that even though someone looses their temper with me, I am to remain disciplined to God’s word striving to be a peacemaker in the mists of a heated exchange. Because living as examples of Christ before all others is to show respect even when you don’t feel respected in return.