I think we’ve all heard it said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, yet that’s precisely what’s happening in many relationships. As far back as many of us can remember, periods of time seem to be somewhat different, but the dynamics of life’s relationships have never really changed.
Parental grandstanding, which often included exagerations of walking 10-miles to school uphill in the snow both ways, and the desire not to talk back to parents, has rarely generated the kind of character and integrity worth repeating.
If the model for life were to seek perfection, then it would seem reasonable to study the mold from which our expectations are cast. It would become immediately evident that our understanding of perfection alone will never satisfy the soul, for it will always be relative to the one who seeks it.
It’s in the mystery of holiness where every living soul finds their true identity, purpose, and character. There’s a thin line between love and hate, yet the width of that line is where we find ourselves seeking to recover the lost art of respect.
I love the way Jesus Christ explains the anchor and position of our identity, when He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Don’t miss this …. hearing is not the same as listening. Far too often, we categorize and file into memory familiar truths, which we are convinced there is nothing more to learn. Saving the best for last has never meant more than it does now.
Many have debated whether leaders are born or made? I’m convinced everyone is born and may choose to practice leadership regardless of their life’s experiences. At the end of the day, everything in life rises and falls on leadership.
From the time of infancy, little boys and girls are nurtured and taught life’s lessons in a hurry. Attendance was always required; however practice over the years was optional. Chivalry is not a commonly used noun or expression today, particularly among our young adult generation between the ages 16-33, yet its absence is desperately needed in social order.
Who, in their right mind, would ever disagree to someone smiling at them, opening a door, or saying “I’m sorry?”, yet an unhealthy desire for fame and acceptance has led many to adopt selfishness as a cheap substitute for morality. Is it possible to respect someone if you don’t really love yourself? The answer may surprise you in that the suggestion is merely one-half of the question.
Random acts of kindness are at best, good behavior, but it is not the kind of love that comes from God. Genuine love for others and ourselves is demonstrated repeatedly as a default of our adandonment of self and deliberate surrender of our will to God.
Be careful, for every original thing in life, there is an attractive and seductive counterfeit. It won’t matter how many doors you open, kind remarks you share, or donations to charity you’ve made; if you aren’t personally connected to the author of love; life itself will be a unimaginable existence lacking a point.
Eventually, someone will shake his or her head in disagreement because I’ve suggested the art of respect is uniquely and directly connected to a relationship with God. Think about it …. if the basis of life is to bring glory to the one who created us, then at the basis of our existence, there really is nothing more important than for us to know Him and make Him known in the world. The same argument applies to the person who denies there is a God or that they are the product of chance, evolution, or randomness.
A better question for you to think about today might be, “Are you building God’s Kingdom or your own?” When I was a young boy, my uncle was a chess enthusiast. He took time to teach me the rules of the game, and also reinforced valuable life lessons while doing so.
I remember being mesmerized by the unique shapes of the chess pieces. The game represented more than just a game to be mastered; it revealed life lessons of strategy and tactics. Take a moment to think about your own grand entrance and position on the stage of life. Everyone experiences a traumatic struggle upon entry into the world at birth.
Our faces were bruised, bodies stressed, and we were forced to contend with an alien environment from which we would ultimately be vulnerable and defenseless. It was then that we crossed the line from the safety of our mother’s womb into the real world where we would learn life’s rules of engagement in a hurry.
The comfort of darkness was replaced with the familiar sound of a mothers voice and warm embrace. The dividing line in life was easy to acknowledge from a distance, yet the simplicity of the game of chess was more representative of our lives than we were willing to admit.
The king could always be seen standing tall as our most precious treasure, yet surrounded by every willing and able servant on the front lines of battle. Protecting the king of our hearts would prove itself worthy through years of practice, and chivalry would become the effect as a result of the cause.
Common courtesies are no more lacking today than anytime in history. The ability to say “thank you”, “you’re welcome”, or “I’m sorry” isn’t a right of passage, rather a practiced skill of humility and character. The very thing we demand from others in being respected is often the thing we withhold from others through our prejudices, religion, or culture.
Respect in life is not what other people are doing or not doing to be noticed, rather the kind of person you’ll choose to be in spite of your circumstances. Please take a moment and share your thoughts with me now by posting your comment below.
Until next time, Be encouraged.
I speak to thousands of young adults, men, women, and couples every year on leadership, decision making, and healthy relationships. Sometimes life has a way of being the antidote of life itself. If you’d like more information on this topic or how to bring me as a speaker to your next event, please contact me. Excerpts published from the book, “Life. The Struggle Within, by Egypt McKee”
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