Narrow Roads Nov. 2015

Bob_Anton_Narrow_RoadMany years ago, I read of a military officer who told his troops, “You don’t have to worry about earning my respect. You already have my respect. All you need to do is keep it.” I think that officer was a very wise man. Although we very often speak of ‘earning the respect’ of others, he understood a basic principle that governs all civilized societies; man is inherently deserving of respect from his fellow man. Now the reason why man is deserving of respect, is that man has been made in the image of his creator, God and God is certainly deserving of respect. “Then God said, “Let us create man in our own image, according to our likeness.” Genesis 1:26. Furthermore, God has demonstrated that He has respect for man, by giving man great authority and responsibility. “And let them have authority over all the fish of the sea, all the birds of the air and over all the cattle. Over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Now that’s authority and respect.
But that military officer also understood an equally true proposition. “Man can and often will, through his own free choices, abuse his authority and fail at his responsibilities thereby losing the respect of others.” Eve did it when she disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. Adam did it when he also ate the fruit and then compounded his fault by trying to pin the blame on his wife and God. If this type of action strikes a bit close to home, you shouldn’t be surprised. Our first parents were screw ups and the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. In other words, we’re all screw ups in one way or another.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, as a fellow screw up, wouldn’t you want others to give you a second or third or fourth chance at getting it right? Yes? Then start by having a willingness to give others those same chances to straighten up and get it right. The bible teaches “with the measure you judge others, you also will be judged.” To put it in today’s language, “what comes around goes around.” If you make a habit of pointing out other’s failures, others will not hesitate to point out your failures. But if you show mercy to others and give them respect, even when they make mistakes, you will likely find that they will have mercy and respect for you when you make mistakes. You might even find that their respect for you will grow, despite your own short comings.
We ought to take a lesson from God. He is the only one who, being perfect, has the right to turn His back on us for all of our failures. Yet, He continues to offer us mercy and respect, even when we don’t act in a way deserving of either. God has set for us a wonderful example and if we’re smart, we’ll follow. By the way, as I understand, that military officer was well loved by his troops. He was hard and demanding, but he understood these two principles of humanity and applied them equally and liberally to all of his men. I think that you will find, if you do likewise, you will be happier and others will be happier to have you around. You think about that. God bless you and……
See you on the road.
Bob Anton: Christian Motorcyclists Association
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