Poor old Rodney Dangerfield never got any of it. Aretha Franklin sang about it, but what is it about respect that we seem to have forgotten over the years? When I was a youngster, this particular commandment was particularly tough for me. I mean, I was the center of attention for almost five years until my sister came along. Everyone doted over me – the first grandchild – the first baby in my immediate family – that cutie pie that everyone fussed over. The whole concept of showing respect to anyone other that me was impossible.
The fourth commandment, according to Luther’s Commandment, wasn’t known by me then, but it soon became apparent that I didn’t rule the roost. My mom and dad were much bigger than me. They were the ones who provided food and shelter, clothing and love. My mother was a pushover, but all my dad needed to do was give me “the look” and I knew I better respect him.
The Fourth Commandment
Honor your father and your mother, that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God, so that we do not despise our parents and superiors, nor provoke them to anger, but honor, serve, obey, love and esteem them.
If we’re taught at an early age to respect those in authority (not only our parents) we are given a promise directly from God, our heavenly Father. He tell us that we will have a long life on the earth if we follow this law of His.
The rebellious years of adolescence made me think twice about that commandment. There were others who also deserved my respect – my teachers, my pastor, other kids’ parents, the police and firemen who protected our neighborhood and country. I was taught to respect my president, those in political office, my country, my beliefs, my friends and those I didn’t always agree with.
When I became an adult myself, I saw injustice and wondered how I could respect those who continued to take advantage of the system, those who were intolerant of certain races and social classes and those who didn’t deserve respect of any kind.
Time seems to iron out some of those wrinkles, but as we get older in our walk, we seem to obtain more and more disrespect for those younger than us. We wonder why we don’t get the respect we deserve. We question our politicians. We blame the system. We complain. We grumble and groan because things aren’t the way they used to be. No wonder older folks don’t get any respect.
It seems to me, that if we follow the first three commandments of God, we should naturally respect those we interact with each day. We may not always agree, but a lack of respect for any other human life is not acceptable. When we lose that, we are opening the door to hatred, anger, negativity, violence and placing ourselves on a level much higher than others. The problem with that is we’re also setting ourselves up for a giant fall.