Pastor's Pen

Understanding Respect

Respect is one of those wonderful words in the English language which can be a verb or a noun. Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, defines the noun form as “a) a feeling of high regard, honor or esteem, b) a state of being held in honor or esteem, c) deference or dutiful regard, d) consideration; courteous regard, e) courteous expressions of regard, f) a song made famous by Aretha Franklin, and g) a word used to describe Senator John McCain.”

Well, those last two definitions may not actually be in Webster’s, but they could be! Aretha Franklin’s “RESPECT” is, in the opinion of many people, one of the great songs of the 1960s and it is hard to argue with that opinion. She produced so many wonderful songs that in 1987 she was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. A pastor’s daughter, Aretha Franklin was also inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012. She sang about respect and she lived with respect.

The word “respect” and Senator John Sidney McCain III certainly belong in the same sentence. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1982, McCain won election to the Senate in 1986, serving with distinction until his death on August 25. As chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee, Senator McCain was a leading voice on national security and foreign policy.  John McCain, however, had proven worthy of respect long before he was elected to Congress. As a Navy pilot, McCain was shot down over Hanoi in 1967. The son and grandson of Navy admirals, McCain was accorded no special treatment. Deprived of food, sleep, and brutally tortured, the POW John McCain never gave up and he never gave in. The same can be said about his political career.

1 Peter 2:17 reads, “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” You and I may never sing like Aretha Franklin. We may never cast a vote as a Senator, but we can show respect to others. We can choose to live our lives in such a way that we are respected by other people. We can make a difference when we live with RESPECT for God, for others and ourselves. May God help us so to live.


~Pastor Jeff Lowe