Sunday, 21 April 2019
What are the Keys to Create a Culture of Respect?
1. We are to treat one another by the Biblical standard of: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Yeshua and Judaism well taught that this summarizes our obligations to the Torah with regard to human beings. The standards of Torah are best applied in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. Reading Yeshua's teaching in the light of this command is enlightening. His commandments reveal the nature of how to treat each other as created in God's image. Therefore we do not murder or hate, or commit adultery or lust in our minds. We do not divorce. We act in kindness and even show love to our enemies. Modesty in dress is another standard of respect with regard to human sexuality.
2. Our speech especially is to sincerely show our deep regard for human beings created in God's image. This is first to be manifest in a respectful tone of voice. A harsh and rejecting tone is sometimes due to our own fears and hurts. We must gain the Spirit's fruit of self control resisting the temptation to speak in an angry and vengeful manner. Scripture reveals this standard when Paul teaches that our speech is to be always with grace, seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6). Indeed, Scripture commands perfect courtesy. This implies the avoidance of coarse speech. Classical speech standards developed from the intuitive sense that we are to call attention to that which elevates our sense of the value of human beings. It also implied that we are to speak about those bodily functions that are unattractive in scientific terms when needed, or that we allude indirectly to such matters, but do not speak in demeaning and coarse ways. Dirty language is not consistent with this standard. We especially need to teach our young people good standards, since their peers teach them that it is cool to use coarse language. Ephesians summaries this as follows, "Do not let any unwholesome word come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29, NIV).
3. The subject of human sexuality is especially to be treated with great respect. In the Biblical view, human sexuality is a great gift given to us as part of the bonding experience of marriage, and for the privilege of participating with God in creating children. I believe that the joy of sexual bonding is experienced in part because of the joy of God in creating. God indeed enjoys human sexuality. The beauty and creativity of human sexuality is enhanced and furthered by speaking about it with respect. Sexual humor and jesting is part of that coarsening disrespect that must be overcome in the community of faith. Paul speaks of this as follows, "Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking, which are out of place, but thanksgiving" (Ephesians 5:3-4, NIV). The general practice of using a reference to human sexual intercourse as a four letter adjective that modifies all kinds of nouns is a terrible demeaning of God's great gift. Thankfully, believers rarely use such four letter words, but many have slipped into yielding to coarse sexual jokes. May we meditate on God's standards until our conscience becomes grieved when we hear such language.
These excerpts are from my article here.