Wednesday, April 27, 2016

St. Paul Paraphrased: Want Respect? Act Respectable.

The other day I gave a very simple talk to group of young adults from I Timothy 4:12-16.  St. Timothy, though a very godly man, was not sort to engender a lot of respect at the time.  From reading between the lines of St. Paul’s letters to him, we can see Timothy could be timid at times.  And he was relatively young, yet of delicate health.

And respect was enough of an issue with Timothy that Paul thought it needful to exhort him not to let people disrespect him.

But note the specifics of Paul’s exhortation.  Does he tell Timothy to demand respect?  Does he advise throwing a fit if disrespected in some fashion?  No instead he advises:

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.  Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.

Paul tells Timothy so to excel in his leadership and conduct that people will want to respect him.  In other words, to get respect, act respectable.

Now this principle is rather obvious, at least to those of an older generation, but you wouldn’t know it by the way some youth (and those who won’t grow up) act today.  Especially on college campuses, Social Justice Warriors especially act in a fashion that begs to be disrespected.  Yet at even the smallest slight or “microaggression,” they pitch a fit.

For example, the Black Lives Matter mob blocks traffic, disrupts speakers, and even those just trying to study, yet demands not just respect but that you dare not say "All Lives Matter." Because that would be racist.  Got it.

Another example…

Indeed, the proper response to “Stop talking to us like children” is “Stop acting like a child.”  Want respect?  Act respectable.

Now I am a bit torn as how much respect should be given to those who not only act in a manner that almost demands disrespect but also attack our freedoms.  Hardly anyone says we should respect Nazis or the KKK.  So why should we respect Communists, Black Racists, Islamonazis, Pink Shirts, and other assorted predatory Leftists?  (No, I do not consider all Leftists predatory. . . .  Just a darn lot of them.)

The answer is all are created in the image of God and therefore should be given some degree of respect.  

But if an armed burglar comes into my house, may I suggest there are more important issues than respecting him?  Similarly, exposing and stopping those who are attacking our country, our heritage, and our freedoms - and largely succeeding - seems a bit more important than respecting them.

Again, I am wrestling with this.  Nonetheless, those who are oh-so concerned that society respect them would be well advised to follow St. Paul’s advice -  Want respect? Act respectable.

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