Getting to go to Bible Camp every summer is one of my favorite events of the entire year. I love the games, spending time fellowshipping with other Christians, and getting to examine God’s Word every day for a week. I realize it is Spring and Easter is near, but I am already looking forward to summer and the time for camp. I have learned many lessons over my years as a camper, but I want to look at only one topic in this article. I am blessed to attend two church camps each summer: Short Mountain Bible Camp and Jackson/Smith County Youth Camp. Both camps focus on a single Bible theme for the week. Six years ago, which was the first year I went to JSCYC, the subject was respect. Think about the concept of respect together with me as you read the words that follow.
Respect is sometimes experienced as a feeling or emotion. I have this feeling of deep admiration during the singing or playing of our National Anthem before sporting events. My parents instilled within me the importance of being respectful during this time because of the price brave men and women have paid for my freedom. It bothers me a great deal to see anyone being disrespectful during this solemn time.
When I think of the word respect, I also think of the word honor. They go somewhat hand in hand with each other. Respect is giving honor to someone. When we are respectful, we are appreciating another person or showing admiration. When we think of respect, we usually think of honoring our parents, teachers, people who are older than us, our government leaders, preachers, and elders. Depending on the relationship, respect is demonstrated in various ways.
As Christians, it is vital that we realize we need to have respect for all people. That does not mean we approve of every sort of behavior or accept every idea or belief different people have, but it does mean we should be humble and loving enough to value all people. As bad as a person might be or seem to us, they are made in God’s image, according to Genesis 1:26, 27. It is hard to have respect for people when they do not attempt to display God’s image. As Christians, it is hard to love our enemies, show respect, and treat others the way we would want to be treated. I want to ask those of us who are Christians a question. If we do not have respect for others like the Bible commands, who else will?
As dark as the world might be, we dare not extinguish our Christian lights. “All around the neighborhood, I’m going to let it shine,” remember? When we are respectful those made in the image of God, we respect God Himself. Meditate on the words of Matthew 25:40: “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me.’” How we treat our fellow man is how we treat our Savior. This truth is something we all need to think on more. Let us all try to be humble and respectful to everyone we come in contact with and treat them with love and respect.