Love doesn’t manifest in us as it should because we feel we are due respect. We aren’t owed anything.
Jesus didn’t go around demanding respect. It is pride that brings forth the attitude that we are owed respect. Think about it. Why do we have dissension and offense in the church? Because people (both leaders and members) feel they are owed something. We are to be love and give love, with humility, not with a debt that needs to be paid.
In the New Testament Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” (John 13:34, MEV).
Jesus commands us to love one another. How does love manifest in you and through you? Love should manifest through the fruits of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).
If we are demanding respect and behaving as if we are better than the person next to us, then how are we manifesting love? Love manifests through putting other people ahead of ourselves and making them feel like they are the most important person in the world.
Every person alive is created in the image of God. We should be treating each person as special as God would treat them. God loves each human and values their life. He cares about their opinions, feelings, and the things that are affecting them. If we desire to be the kind of love that Jesus was shouldn’t we think of everyone as equally if not more important than ourselves? But too often we think of ourselves too highly and that is where pride, offense, dissension and disunity affect our churches, communities, homes and workplaces.
What if we looked at the grocery store clerk as a child of God instead of someone who needs to hurry up and check out our purchases? What about the waiter in the restaurant? Demands are put on them to make sure our order is hot, right and doesn’t take too long to cook.
What about when the food order doesn’t turn out like it should? Do we yell, get upset or rude, or do we represent the God of love and have understanding that they didn’t cook the order and it wasn’t their fault? Instead of looking at them as a son of God people usually reduce their tip because their meal isn’t what they hoped for.
Did you ever think of representing the kingdom properly when something didn’t turn out your way and bless the waiter anyway? Think about how that would impact them with God’s love. They might say something like, “Oh wow! I was in a bad mood, I ordered wrong, the kitchen messed up their order and they gave me the same amount of tip.” That might really impact the waiter and make him think, “Why did they do that?”
We go through life feeling we are owed something, whether it is respect, fast and perfect service or a place and position of prominence. Do we always give those things? Of course, we don’t! We aren’t perfect in all we do. We aren’t always respectful and allowing loving thoughts to come out of our mouth, holding our tongue and being love to the person. We don’t always elevate other people ahead of ourselves and give them a position of prominence.
When we feel we are owed respect it causes dissension and disunity within the church. The complaint I hear more than anything else is, “My pastor didn’t respect my anointing,” “He didn’t let me minister or release that prophetic word,” or “He didn’t implement my idea.” What are those statements filled with? They are filled with I and self, self-exaltation and pride.
Statements such as these are filled with exalt me and give me a position of visibility, so people can see what you are doing. These are not humble statements. Statements of humility don’t care if you are recognized. True humility will extend love and not self.
As we go forward in ministry and in the commission God has given all of us individually, we need to self-examine and destroy the feelings within us that desire this respect so badly. We should be kind, nice and exude the fruits of the spirit. But when we feel we are owed something or someone disrespects us we need to ask ourselves why we feel that way to begin with.
After all the Bible says, “Create in me a clean heart” (Ps. 51:10). Let’s look inward before we look outward.
Kathy DeGraw is the founder of DeGraw Ministries a ministry releasing the love and power of God. She travels hosting conferences, teaching schools and evangelistic love tours. Kathy enjoys writing and is the author of several books that educate, empower and equip people, including A Worship Woven Life and Flesh, Satan or God. Connect with Kathy at www.degrawministries.org.