Love, Respect, and Amazing Grace!
by Shelley Hendrix, Author and Founder of Church 4 Chicks
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.2 Chronicles 16:9a NKJV
They say that women yearn for love and men long for respect. I can see this, and won't argue it, but I think we all want both, don't you? I know I do.
I've come to realize that love and respect don't necessarily come as a package deal, though. You can respect someone you don't love and love someone without necessarily feeling any admiration for them. (There's a difference between showing respect, as in honoring someone based on who you are, and respecting them, as in admiring them for what they've done.)
With me so far?
This has been on my mind all day because just this morning I had to deal with a challenging interaction with someone I greatly love, but because of what he/she chose to do with this situation, my respect for them was challenged. My love didn't change one iota, but my ability to feel admiration, based on their behavior did. I came away from that conversation with a couple of thoughts:
1) Because of grace, God loves us no matter what we do or how we treat Him.
2) Because of grace, God will always show honor/respect to us no matter how we behave or how we treat Him;
3) Because of grace, God's love won't change; his ability to be honorable in all His dealings with us won't change; but that doesn't mean He 'respects' what we choose to do or how we choose to behave.
I believe that feeling respect for someone is intimately connected with our ability to trust that person.
The more you trust someone's integrity, honor, trustworthiness, the higher the respect factor. Am I right?
I believe this is why God chooses to use some folks in greater proportion to their abilities than others: not because He loves them more, nor because He chooses favorites, but because some people have chosen to be more trustworthy, more respectable, than others. Some can be trusted to drive their Father's car without supervision while the other child can't...at least not yet.
Take David, in the Old Testament, as an example. As he proved his trustworthiness to his earthly father, his Heavenly Father began to promote him again and again. As David proved himself trustworthy to his earthly authority (King Saul for example), God began to elevate his earthly influence over that of others who were seemingly so much more capable and suited for the roles David filled.
I don't know about you, but I can say for myself, that when the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, searching for a heart that is loyal to His, I want His eyes to land on me! If God is looking for people, not only to love, but to show Himself strong for, my desire is that He would do this in my life.
Grace means His love is always constant. I can't make Him love me anymore than he infinitely does already. Nor can I do anything that would cause Him to love me any less.
This awareness frees my heart to obey Him in loyal love.
What about you?
- How do you see Grace's role in response to trustworthiness and respectability?