“You’re a good man, Bert.”
I saw the look of surprise in Bert’s eyes. After the morning we’d just had, he didn’t expect to hear those words – at least not until he’d spent more time in the doghouse. But even though I wasn’t feeling a lot of love and admiration for my husband at that moment, I knew he loved me, and I didn’t want my unforgiving attitude to harm our relationship.
It was incredible how quickly our day improved once I changed my attitude.
Every time I choose to honor Bert rather than chide him about something or give him the silent treatment, I feel better about him, myself, and our marriage. I suspect Bert feels the same way when he chooses to respond similarly after I’ve acted in a less than kind way. I’m often humbled at how Bert supports me – even during my imperfect moments.
From what I’ve heard from others (couples and singles of all types, including widows and people who are divorced), I know we’re not the only ones who would benefit from this week’s verse,
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10 ESV.
I especially love the “outdo one another in showing honor” part.
Rather than waiting until our spouse, sibling, co-worker, or friend to go first in giving us the respect “we deserve,” let’s stop keeping score and ask God to show us more ways to consistently love and honor those around us.
Imagine the impact this will have on them. Especially when they’re not behaving their best – which is usually when they most need our affection and respect.
There are times when this will be particularly challenging. Believe me, I know how easy it is to give in to knee-jerk and self-centered reactions. I’m so guilty of keeping score and holding on to hurt entirely too long. Even though I know no one is perfect and most of us long to do better.
But what if, as we begin a new year, we asked God to help us value every person?
Let’s guard our thoughts about one another and only speak well of them. And every time we’re tempted to do otherwise, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to stop us mid-track and show us how to respond differently.
If you’re tempted to reject this idea, imagine what your marriage (and other relationships) would be like years from now if you chose to continue hurting and dishonoring one another.
Is this the kind of marriage or relationship you really want, until death do you part?
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post. (Others might also benefit from your comment.)
- How would it change your relationships if you consistently chose to honor others?
- How would it change your community?
- How would choosing to show respect for others change you?
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