The word “respect” gets attention. It is certainly a quality that almost everyone wants, whether they are willing to give what it takes to have it or not. According to Paul, gaining respect is something that can be assured through a learning experience. He said in his letter to Titus, ”Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.”
Respect comes from what other people see in us, whether they are our children, mate, relatives or anyone else. Respect is a quality that you cannot buy. With a few dollars or a favor or two, you could probably bribe someone into “respecting” you. However, it would be an “in word only” experience. Respect cannot be bought or sold. It can only be earned from a life worthy of it. Note again Paul’s statement, “…worthy of respect.”
There are some elements of respect that come with age or gender, regardless of how you live your life. If a younger person is sitting down and an older person walks into the room, the younger should forfeit his chair without hesitation. The same is true for men if a woman enters the room. Respect! That’s all it is. Respect!
The kind of respect mentioned above is not what Paul envisioned when he wrote to Titus. The respect he wrote of had to do with character, not gender or age. It is our character that determines how others view us. Even people with rotten lives can appreciate someone with a good character.
There is something that needs repeating here. Being worthy of respect is a learned virtue. Perhaps you live a life where others do not respect you. For what are you asking? Are you asking them to listen and heed every word you say? Are you wanting them to lift you up into places of honor and prestige? Maybe you are wanting the wrong things. Sarah respected Abraham and called him Lord, but it didn’t mean that she wanted to build a temple in his name.
Respect comes mostly from consistency. Titus was to teach the virtue of self-control. He was to teach them soundness or healthiness in their doctrine. To the older women, he was to train them to be moderate. They should never do anything (like wine) in excess. Instead of excessive living, these women should spend their time teaching good things to the younger women. They should teach them how to keep the home, love their husbands and their children.
Now think about it for a moment. Think about the people you respect most in your life right now. Now, ask yourself “why?” Why do I respect this person? What is it about him or her that warrants my respect?
It is likely that you will find in this series of questions the answer to your earlier question, Why don’t I get any respect?”
From what Paul taught, there are some things I really need to learn if I want respect. We often want a maximum return on a zero investment. It just doesn’t happen. Are you willing to pay the price?