Earning Respect From Others

“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them…Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching….” – 1 Timothy 4:12-16. 

Timothy is said to have been acquainted with the Scriptures since childhood. God had called Timothy to the gospel ministry. He was the protege’ of the Apostle Paul, but he was young. Would people follow his leadership? Would they respect him enough to listen? Through the Spirit’s inspiration, Paul taught Timothy how to overcome the liabilities of youth and earn respect.  And it starts by living a Godly life. 

Proverbs 11:27 says, “if you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!” What does Solomon mean by good? He means mercy, not cruelty, righteousness, not wickedness, doing what pleases God, not what displeases Him. Think of the people in your life that you genuinely respect: chances are most of them will be very godly people. If you want to earn the respect of others, you must live with godliness.

To live a godly life means we walk in humility. Proverbs 29:23 says, “Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.” Humility is not denying your accomplishments. It’s realizing God gave you the ability and the opportunity to realize those accomplishments. 1 Corinthians 4:7 tells us “For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?  

Make loving people a priority in your life. Love people eagerly and faithfully. As you become the example, you create a pattern for others to follow. This visible transformation earns respect and influence, regardless of your age and experience. You can act in a way that generates respect regardless of age or experience.

Titus 2:7 sums it all up pretty well: “And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.“

 Discussion Questions:

  1. Living a godly life generates respect. Agree or disagree and why? 
  2. Treat others with humility. The more you lower yourself, the more others will respect you. Agree or disagree and why? 

With All Due Respect

“Stop! Right now! Take a deep breath in and exhale. Remind yourself that you are loved, you are cherished, and you have value. Remind yourself that nothing that anyone does or thinks or says to you will diminish that value. Remind yourself that every person you meet today is loved by God just as much as you are and is worthy of respect and is worthy of being seen as a person of value. Now continue to make decisions today based on those truths.” – Katherine Walden.  

Throughout the Bible, we see that God’s intention is focused on man, and His heart’s desire is set upon man. Man is not an afterthought; man is not merely a creature – man is very important, and God’s intention and desire are related to Him. The Bible doesn’t tell us why, but God loves man, and created humans in His image.  As such, we are treasured by Him. 

That is true of the person in line at the grocery store, that face on social media, the person who picks up the garbage; all are made in God’s image and are His precious property because they are His creation made in His image. We must look at every man and woman as God views them. He loves each person so much that He sent his only Son Jesus Christ to die a criminal’s death on a cross to take the punishment of our sins. Because God cherished every person, they are worthy of our respect. They are all human beings and creations of God and thus worthy of our respect. John 13:34-35 tells us that “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul writes, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:10) Honoring others is another way of saying respecting others. Why should we bother to respect everyone? After all, some people don’t deserve it. I know—it’s a challenge. But here’s the rub: respect should not be based on a person’s achievements or abilities, but solely because they’re made in the image of God.

Knowing that we are all made in the image of God should prompt us to see value in others. Seeing value in everyone is not the same as agreeing or being best friends with everyone. Instead, it means showing all people the love of Christ through what we do and how we treat them. We all have a purpose, and we should treat all people mindfully and with great respect because God loves them all.  

Treating others with dignity and respect entails treating others as worthy. Sometimes Christians may be perceived as judgmental or hypocritical by people with different beliefs. This is one reason it is important to honor others and not look down on anyone — so others can see a good witness for Christ, and we do not contribute to a bad reputation for the Christian faith.

 Discussion Questions:

  1. You can be kind to everyone, you don’t have to avoid and insulate your life. Agree or disagree and why?
  2. When we honor Jesus with our lives we’ll be kind to others, we’ll love others, and we’ll be humble around others.  Is this the best way to respect others? Why or why not?