Living in Community: Disrespect

Are you spitting in the face of Jesus?

Living in Community: Respect

When you believe the gospel, you change. The Holy Spirit indwells you, guides you into the changes you need to make to be the person God has created you to be and empowers you to make those changes. The reason why changes are necessary is that we tend to drag the old way we lived our lives into our new life in Christ. If you are not changing, you most likely are not following. There are some things that we learned that are anti-Christ, behaviors opposed to His teachings, and ways of relating to one another that just don’t fit into our new reality. Scripture has pictured this new reality as being the body of Christ. Jesus is the head, every believer, every disciple, is part of the body.

1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT)
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

Being the body is a beautiful picture of a new reality for you. It’s a picture of your personal belonging, importance, significance, and unity with others in the body. Consider if we are one with Christ, we are one with all others that are one with Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:13 (NLT)
“…we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.”

We belong to each other. We are a part of one another. Last time we explored one of the deterrents to a healthy body that we drag into our new life in Christ. We exposed self-centeredness with its attitude of “It’s All About Me” and its slogan “Feed Me” as cancer that sickens the body. Today we need to look at another anti-Christ behavior that we tend to bring with us into our new life in Christ. That behavior is Disrespect.

To disrespect someone is to act in an insulting way toward them. When you disrespect people, you think very little of them; that this person is insignificant as far as you are concerned. We can be disrespectful in many ways, profane language, acting rudely, pushy, impolite and just being offensive. When I was growing up I was told show respect to your elders. Give up your seat for a senior adult. Open the door for a lady. Remove your hat inside a building and when the National Anthem is sung. Don’t talk back to your teacher. Say please and thank you and use your manners.

Slang in the street is “Don’t Dis Me.” In the song “Both Sides of the Story” Phil Collins sings the lyric: …
White man turns the corner, finds himself within a different world
Ghetto kid grabs his shoulder, throws him up against the wall
He says 'would you respect me if I didn't have this gun
'Cause without it, I don't get it, and that's why I carry one

Don’t you want to be respected? Don’t you expect to be treated with a modicum of decorum simply because you are a human being? Don’t you want to be listened to, recognized and understood? When you disrespected you feel like some retaliation is in order. We all want others to respect us; to treat us civilly and to see us.

Have you ever been spat on? I was in a town in South Korea near the DMZ, just walking with some buddies taking in the sights; coming towards us were four young men, as we passed one turned and spit at me. Spitting at someone, especially in the face is a huge sign of disrespect. Disrespect might be too mild of a word. Anger works. Contempt might be closer. Hatred might be closer still.  The message sent is that you are a low life scum sucking bottom dweller not worth the air you breathe. To be spat on in the face means you are rejected, despised, loathed, considered an abomination.  Spitting in someone’s face is rude, crude, and socially unacceptable in a civilized society and is just begging for a fight.

I don’t know about you but being spat upon is pretty gross. I would really have to be following hard after Jesus, really being full of the Holy Spirit, not to do something very un-Christian in response.

Matthew 26:62-67 (MSG)
The Chief Priest stood up and said, "What do you have to say to the accusation?"
Jesus kept silent.

Then the Chief Priest said, "I command you by the authority of the living God to say if you are the Messiah, the Son of God." Jesus was curt: "You yourself said it. And that's not all. Soon you'll see it for yourself: The Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Mighty One, Arriving on the clouds of heaven."

At that, the Chief Priest lost his temper, ripping his robes, yelling, "He blasphemed! Why do we need witnesses to accuse him? You all heard him blaspheme! Are you going to stand for such blasphemy?"
They all said, "Death! That seals his death sentence." Then they were spitting in his face and banging him around. They jeered as they slapped him…”

The religious spat in Jesus' face.

Jesus is brought before the civil authorities and in a great miscarriage of justice sentenced to death.

Matthew 27:27-30 (MSG)
The soldiers assigned to the governor took Jesus into the governor's palace and got the entire brigade together for some fun. They stripped him and dressed him in a red toga. They plaited a crown from branches of a thorn bush and set it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand for a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mocking reverence: "Bravo, King of the Jews!" they said. "Bravo!" Then they spit on him and hit him on the head with the stick.

The religious spat on him, the establishment spat on Him. They spat on Jesus, the ultimate sign of disrespect. Today people are still spitting at Jesus. But let us turn away from those outside the Kingdom and look in. Let’s look at how we treat each other who are one with Christ. If you spit in the face of a Christ-follower, you are spitting in the face of Christ.

One of the anti-Christ behaviors we bring into our new life in the Kingdom of God is disrespecting our brothers and sisters in Christ.  There are countless ways of being disrespectful and often if we don’t know the culture, if we don’t know what is expected, we can ignorantly be disrespectful. But that’s not always the case. During my first stint as a senior pastor, my wife not only got a cold shoulder from some of our female congregants but received some rejecting comments.  Think back to Junior High or High School and how catty some gals can be to those not in their click. Getting to the bottom of this disrespectful behavior was jealousy. Those ladies were jealous that the pastor’s wife was slim and attractive. They spiritually spit in her face, they spit in the face of Jesus.  Jealously is basically the desire to have what someone else has when fully grown the bible names this behavior coveting.

Exodus 20:17 (NLT)
 “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”

When there is sin in the body, the whole body is aching.

Joshua is a military leader engaged in a campaign to conquer the Promised Land. He sends a contingent of his warriors to take a small city; really just child’s play. But his men are defeated.  When Joshua asks The Lord why, it is revealed that one soldier, a man named Achan, took what did not belong to him. (Joshua 7). The defeat of all was because of one person’s coveting. “Dissing another believer is to cause the entire body problems.” The Divine blessing conduit gets clogged. When the Church is not moving in the direction God is calling you have to wonder if there is an Achan in the camp. Can I tell you a cynical pastor’s joke? Well, I am anyway. A group of my peers was sitting around discussing how things were going in their respective ministries and one of my colleagues said: “I think we are one funeral away from revival.”

Being jealous, coveting what someone else has resulted in behavior that is disrespectful. Maybe such disrespectful behavior is gossip. Gossip is my attempt to pull someone down to my level. Maybe it's rejecting, everyone in your click turns down the invitation to attend “you know whose” celebration. It works the other way also, you don’t invite them to yours. Maybe it’s that look of disapproval on your face that sends the message that they don’t meet your standards. Maybe you ignore them, the message is you’re not wanted. That’s disrespect, that is spiritually spitting on them. That is spitting in the face of Jesus.

I am at the cinema watching a movie. It was one of those very rare occasions I bought concessions. I have a hard time paying $15 bucks for popcorn and coke. The folks I sat next to obviously didn’t have the same concerns. Everyone in that group had a popcorn, drink and the kids had candy. After the film, they left and I had to wade my way through the mess they left behind: Popcorn and the popcorn boxes on the floor, candy wrappers on the floor, partially consumed cokes in the cup holders, napkins on the floor. What a mess. Being the saint that I am, I tossed my refuse in the trash can on the way out. No, it wasn’t because I am a saint, its because I worked in a theater at one time cleaning up after a show. It’s made me conscious of the effort required to clean up someone else’s movie messes. So I do my part, so others don’t have to clean up after me.

Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.

Since we are a living part of the body, since we belong to each other, we are to have concern for every other member of the body. We are to be aware, conscious, of what others do, especially when it comes to the serving that they do for the body. Making this tangible, in the men’s restroom in this facility, there are paper towels to dry your hands. There is a trash can for men to drop the paper towels after use. After everyone leaves, someone serves the body by taking out the trash. What they often find is used paper towels on the floor because someone missed the can, or when they pulled the paper from the dispenser the towel ripped and they just dropped the ripped part on the floor. Such behavior is disrespecting your brother or sister that has to clean up after you. Leave your mess behind and you are demonstrating disrespect for the one who serves by cleaning up after you. You don’t even know who, but you just spiritually spat in their face. You spit in the face of Jesus.  

Here’s a glance down another avenue. You wash your hands and you see someone else missed the trash can. Picking up after someone else’s disrespectful behavior is showing respect for that brother or sister who serves by cleaning up after everyone has left. It is an act of love. Love is seeking to meet the need of another often at the cost of personal sacrifice.

A lack of sensitivity, sympathy, and empathy, that inability to put you in someone else's position demonstrates disrespect. When there is no concern for a brother or sister, its disrespectful. It’s often a way of the world that we tend to drag into our new life as part of the body of Christ. 

Phil 2:21 (NIV)
For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

Don’t allow this verse to be true of you.  Here’s a little twist to consider, when you disrespect a brother or sister in the body, you have also disrespected yourself.  Remember we are all one in Christ, we are all parts of His Body. I urge you to make the resolution to avoid being an Achan in the body.

Here’s how to keep that resolution. Exercise the power already given to you by the Holy Spirit to love. Love is to treat the other as valuable, to love is to give respect to others.  (Bruxy Cavey, Diane Langberg) Choose to be a lover,

Of course, Jesus said it best:

Matthew 7:12 (NIV)

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.


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