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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Show A Little Respect

I grew up with three brothers and eventually had two amazing sisters added to the mix in my late teen years.  My twin brother and I happened to be the middle children, so we knew what it was like to have older siblings and a younger brother.  In the hierarchy of siblings, it was my older brother’s right to sit in the front passenger seat of the family car whenever mom or dad went somewhere.  This older sibling right-of-passage was supposed to be passed down to me, but for some reason was never enforced.  In fact, my younger brother many times would make some quick maneuver to sit in the front passenger seat and my parents would let him get away with it.  I felt extremely aggravated and ripped off that they would let him sit in “MY SPOT.”  After all, I waited years to be able to claim the rights to the front passenger seat.  Well my animosity toward my younger brother continued to grow.  He became the center of attention at family gatherings and I was secretly jealous of him because he took the attention away from me.  So like a nice older brother I made comments that ate away his confidence and brought his ego down a couple of notches.  Needless to say, our relationship was not very good.  I continually thought in my mind, if he would only respect me, then I would treat him different.  On several occasions I told him that I hated him.  This was said in love of course…not really…who was I kidding? 
            Several years ago, God took me through a series of events that broke my self-reliance and caused me to surrender control of my life to God.  In the months and years to follow, God began chipping away areas of my life that did not reflect his character and heart towards others.  One day He began to deal with me about how I had been treating my younger brother.  As I was spending time with God, this scene played out in my mind.  There was a huge royal feast with Christians seated along this rectangular table having a great time.  As far as the eye could see people were seated eating and carrying on conversation.  Jesus was at the head of the table and I noticed that He got up and came over to where I was seated and He said this to me, “You take my seat and I will take yours.”  I told Him that I could NOT take His seat because it was reserved for Him.  Then He said to me, “He who wants to be greatest in my kingdom will be a servant of all.”  I did not understand what this mental scene meant at first, but little by little, I began to understand.  Jesus was at the seat of honor and rightly so.  He deserved to sit in the highest seat at the feast.  He was God!  But, He gave up His right and took my place instead.  I knew God was asking me to give up my right to the front passenger seat of the family car and let my younger brother have it.  Not only that, but I was to ask if he wanted to sit up there!  The first time I did that, my brother looked at me as if I had lost my mind?  He could not believe that he was talking with the same Cory that terrorized him days and weeks earlier.  Over time, I looked for ways that I could show him that I loved and valued him because I was experiencing the same love and value from my Savior Jesus Christ.  The Bible says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7 NIV).  For many years, I sowed disrespect toward my brother and was expecting respect in return!  God began to teach me that if I wanted respect from my brother, I needed to humble myself and show respect to him.  I will reap what I sow into the ground only.  Over the course of several months of sowing respect, I saw a real change start to take place in him and he began to treat me with kindness.  To this day, we have an amazing relationship and it is all because I humbled myself and started sowing what I wanted out of the relationship…RESPECT.

Maybe you are having trouble in a relationship with a loved one, friend or coworker.  I encourage you to let go of pride and stop waiting for them to make the first move.  Humble yourself and let God teach you how to show love and respect toward them and you will see God transform those broken relationships into meaningful ones.  It might be tough, but with God’s help you can be more than a conqueror.  You might want to quit because they are not showing you love in return for the changes you made.  Remember, you are starting to sow good seed.  It takes time for it to germinate and produce a crop. 

“And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint” (Galatians 6:9 Amplified Bible).

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