Thursday, January 27, 2011

Respecting everyone

“Honor all men; love the brotherhood…” -1 Peter 2:17

Teaching our kids to respect everyone, I mean everyone, means treasuring and acknowledging God’s creativity and love for all people. Too often we are judgmental as parents and pass our bias on to our kids. Try to model respect for others with your family. Of course, no TV show modeled love and respect more than the Andy Griffith Show.

In “A Date for Gomer,” before Barney can take Themla Lou to a dance, he must find a date for her "homely" cousin, Mary Grace. Mary Grace is shy, awkward and introverted. Barney asks Gomer and he accepts. On the night of the dance, Andy, Barney, and Gomer arrive at Thelma Lou's where Thelma introduces Gomer to Mary Grace. All of a sudden, Gomer rushes away without saying a word. Mary Grace is embarrassed and decides to forgo the dance.

The others leave very disturbed. Gomer returns a short while later. He has brought Mary Grace a corsage for the dance. Mary Grace is charmed with Gomer's gift and the two decide to have fun at home instead of going to the dance. When Andy, Barney and the ladies return to the house - still upset over the evening's events, they are pleasantly surprised and delighted to find Gomer and Mary Grace laughing away and dancing the jitterbug to a loud recording.

Gomer and Mary Grace were having a blast! They may not have been social experts, but they respected and appreciated each other. That’s the theme of many of the Andy Griffith shows and it’s still pleasant to watch almost 50 years later.

Perhaps we enjoy it so much because it stands in such contrast to today’s non-respecting society. We claim “tolerance” but it seems people are less tolerant than ever. It’s definitely something modeled from parents to their kids.

Spike White, the founder of Kanakuk Kamps, modeled such an awesome respect and care for all people. The story is told that every Saturday morning, Spike had a cup of coffee and donuts for the trash men that came to get his garbage. Spike respected both the white collars and the blue collars equally and modeled that respect to everyone working at the camp.

It’s been said that, “God never creates junk.” In other words, everything that God creates is a treasure. He knows our “inward parts,” and all people, short or small, rich or poor, lost or saved, are precious to God and should be to us.

So, the next time you pass a homeless person, pray for them with the kids instead of lamenting that “they should get a job.” The next time you see a Muslim person on TV, express your desire for him to know Christ instead of calling him a terrorist. The next time you encounter anyone who pushes your “judgment button,” push back against it and love that person.

That's what Jesus modeled for us- a respect for all people. He respected the tax collectors, prostitutes and rich people alike. Be that model for your kids- a model of love.

Even for the Mary Grace’s…

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

No comments: