The world today is experiencing an epic shortage of respect. Politeness and honor for one another have been thrown out the window. How did society devolve to a point of having so little regard for one another?
A major lack of love and boundaries … set for others and for ourselves.
Several years ago, my husband and I were on a shuttle bus to an airport terminal after returning our rental car. A young woman got on the bus as it made another stop after picking us up. My husband immediately stood up and offered her his seat. She politely declined, but he insisted, saying, “I was taught to offer my seat to a woman when she enters a room.” She smiled, relented, and accepted his offer, but not before a younger businessman dressed in a suit sarcastically blurted out, “Well, why don’t I just throw my jacket on the floor for her to walk on as well?!”
Call me old-fashioned, but that is just rude! What a stark contrast between the impeccably dressed businessman and the jeans-and-baseball-cap-clad vacationer. Modern-day shining knights don’t always ride in on a steed, wearing bright, shiny armor.
Have you ever received less-than-honorable treatment?
In a perfect world, we are taught by our parents to love, respect, and value others. We learn to live by the “Do unto others” Golden Rule. But that’s in a perfect world and that world doesn’t exist — yet. Many of us were not, however, fortunate enough to receive proper instruction about the importance of setting healthy boundaries.
There is an imaginary line of expected behavior drawn in the sand and insolence dares to cross it. Pointing out to others when they have crossed that line can be intimidating; rather than be our own knights in shining armor, we accept poor behavior from others, allowing ungodly advances toward our personhood. The less-than-admirable behaviors infiltrate our hearts and minds; we are tricked into believing the poor behavior is acceptable, and the new norm is established.
What’s even sadder is that the crown of God’s creation becomes embittered. With dishonor abounding and the line in the sand blurred, we subconsciously retaliate, completely eroding the line and allowing the world’s new norm to merge with our better judgment.
What you permit, you promote.
Do you want to influence the world in a positive way? Is it your desire to receive the honor and respect God intended for you? Start by setting boundaries. There is One Who is honorable and without fault Whose example is the best standard by which we measure honor.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13
Jesus comes to us as a gentleman. In Him we find true respect and honor. He freely, knowingly, and willingly gave His life in the ultimate sacrifice to demonstrate His love for us. He didn’t just lay down his cloak as a token of honor; He laid down HIS LIFE!
But … He respects our free will to receive Him or not. The Gentleman does not force His way into our lives. When we choose not to honor Him, He does not relax his standards and accept pharasaical behavior as the norm.
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they [disciples] keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:40
God desires us to have healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries tells others
- “It’s not okay that you lied to me. I deserve the truth.”
- “I won’t accept being spoken to in that tone. When you speak to me respectfully, I will listen.”
- I’m sorry, but I’m not willing to compromise my standards.
- “When I am threatened by your actions,” (or am unsafe) “I will not be in your presence.”
Healthy boundaries aren’t meant to drive others away; they are meant to protect and respect oneself. Do you think God would call that selfish? On the contrary. Scripture encourages us to exercise self-control. It [God’s grace] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2:12) By honoring yourself, you gently offer others the opportunity to observe how they too can respect themselves. And that’s not selfish; that is a gift of love.
Dare to cross the world’s line in the sand. Honor God and honor others by honoring yourself.
Because you are what God says that you are! You are enough!
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Pam Freitag Weyant traded the harsh Midwestern winters for the sunny South. Her best friends are her stenography machine (she works as a freelance court reporter), her aged but adorable cocker spaniel Jake, and words. She is grateful for time spent traveling, writing creative nonfiction, and working out. The most important goal she hopes to reach every day is sharing her story with others so they can also find freedom in a redemptive Savior. Read more of Pam’s Breath on Paper bio here.