Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
What does it mean to respect someone? To be respected, does that carry with it approval? I am in a conversation with an atheist who says he respects other people’s opinions. To be honest I believe he is using the term to cut me off, to stop the conversation before I can tell him the truth. He thinks he knows where the conversation is going, so he says he respects, but he doesn’t.
If you respect someone you must hear them out. Peter perceives a truth about God, that being God knows all things. God does not have to hear us out to know us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. I have often utter a thing to God only to have to eat my words, because I can and do lie to myself. I cannot lie to God. God is truth and knows all things.
This issue I have with respect today is the value in respect to change things for the better. It is far better to be loving and gracious than respectful. Love and grace are gifts from the heart of God extended to others because of quality of character. It is who we are. Respect is a thing taken from another. It is acceptance. God’s acceptance of us is not based on who we are or what we have done. God accepts us because we believe on His Son Jesus Christ and by faith we are His.
I told this atheist that respect has never changed anyone. The only thing that has ever changed a man is love. Will he listen? Will he understand? God only knows. All I can do is be loving and gracious and let love do what love does. It touches the heart.
Matthew 5:44-45a But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: