Romans 2:9-11 NIV “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.”
The Amplified Bible puts the last verse this way: “For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another].”
In my dealings with others, be they family members or people that come across my path, externally of my family, I know of no other terminology that has the potential to cause more strife or misunderstanding than the term disrespect.
One of the definitions for disrespect reads as follows: “the act of putting someone down , trying to make them feel low, treating someone in a horrible manner, showing a person that they mean less than nothing to you, a hurtful act that is both rude and ignorant towards another persons feeling”.
I used this particular definition because it does, in my estimation, correctly identify the emotion that is normally associated with “disrespect”. Inevitably someone’s feelings get hurt or one takes offense at the connotation associated with the either intended or unintended disrespect.
It should be noted that there is a distinct difference between having a different opinion and showing disrespect, whether displayed, for the latter, intentionally or unintentionally.
I previously wrote an article entitled its-not-just-what-you-say/ wherein I elaborated on the importance of the tone that is used when articulating a particular perspective or belief. You see a lot of this happening on “Christian Blogs” where one person at some point of the conversation, changes the tone of the discussion from articulating their understanding or opinion to attacking the mental capabilities of one of the two individuals in the dialogue. Short story, this is wrong and Christians should not be demeaning others who hold differing opinions.
An Important Distinction
There is an important distinction to be made, both by the one who is expressing their opinion and the one who is listening to the opinion of the other. Just because you may not agree with the opinion being expressed does not, in itself, mean that you are being disrespected. To disagree with someone about a particular religion or a particular aspect of Christianity is very common, actually it’s extremely common, it happens all of the time. I can’t think of anyone who holds all of the viewpoints that I may subscribe to nor do I know of anyone whom I agree with them on all of their viewpoints. We’re all different, all of us have been exposed to different “life lessons” and all of us have what I call “different understandings” on a host of different subjects. That is, from my perspective, reality.
If you ask me a question, I shall try, to the best of my ability, to give you what I consider, an honest answer, according to the understanding that I have. In my mind, to my way of thinking, there are some subjects that are not open to differing opinions, if in fact, you call yourself a Christian. An example could be that Jesus gave His life for us on the cross, to pay the price that our sins demanded, by a just and holy God. If you call yourself a Christian, in my mind, that should be a given.
Do you have the right to disagree with that statement, of course you do, but if you do, I would call into question the validity of your Christian faith, based on my understanding of God’s Word. And I would also call into question the benefits of Christian faith, if your opinions differ from mine on this particular aspect, God’s mercy expressed by the giving of His Son, on the cross, for our sins.
What sometimes happens, is that the person to whom we articulate our understanding of Christian faith, narrows that down to a difference of opinion between two individuals and once again, that is absolutely correct, if our opinions differ on the saving grace of Jesus, for our sins, is being looked at. I happen to believe that my understanding correlates with God’s Word and if you disagree with the reality of sin per sec, then your opinion is going to differ from mine.
What also sometimes happens is that the person to whom we express our opinion on the saving grace of Jesus, assumes that we then think we are superior to them and that our expressed opinions are being articulated as being superior to their’s, and they feel put down. Their “opinions” are being delegated as being inferior by us, and they take offense and feel disrespected. It’s a difficult situation to be in.
There is only one truth, and if we differ in our understanding of what this truth is, it changes everything. That’s another way of saying that what one of us believes is truth is incorrect or wrong. There’s just no way that I know of to get around that particular reality.
So, what is truth? I personally believe “truth” is expressed in Jesus Christ, the Messiah. That means that what He said, the truths He conveyed have to be taken to heart. He defines truth, He is truth. Jesus said He was the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6 NIV). Opinions that I may hold, if they differ from those of Jesus, then Jesus is correct and I am wrong. He is the deciding factor. His opinions supersede mine. I have to come into line with Him, not Him with me. That’s the difference between Him being God and me being me and ultimately you being you.
So our difference of opinion really boils down to who Jesus is. If He is the Son of God, if His words bring us into the light of His truth, if He really died and rose again from the dead so that we may also live after these bodies die and forever be in the presence of God our Heavenly Father, our “opinion” about Jesus decides everything.
So if our “opinions” differ about who Jesus is, I’m not putting you down. I’m just telling you what I hold as “truth”. What you may hold as “truth” may differ from what I hold as “truth”. You have the right to believe in your “truth” just as much as I have the right to believe in my “truth”. Two different opinions, that’s not disrespect. I could very easily take offense at your putting me down and say you were disrespectful to me because you hold your “opinion” superior to mine. It’s not a matter of disrespect of opinions, it’s about what you decide truth is and what I decide truth is, which ultimately, for me, sides with Jesus. What you decide is your call, it always has been. It’s called free choice.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!