Today we move to our third covenant commitment – We will honour and respect one another in word and action, and forgive one another as we have been forgiven
This commitment, I believe, is linked very closely to last week and our theme of reconciliation. The word I have chosen for this week is respect. We’ll explore all the forms of definition of this word in the service, but here I want to highlight one use of respect as a verb – to show regard or consideration for.
This commitment includes the act of forgiveness, but it is the honouring and respecting that I want to focus on.
A true act of forgiveness only happens if we value, honour and respect the person we are forgiving. If we don’t, why on earth would we bother forgiving? I would hope that it is the respect we hold for each other that underlies the value we place on each other and our relationship with each other. As siblings and friends in Christ we are of value, we are created in the image of God, and we are loved and treasured by God.
We are called to show this value and love that God first gives us to all around us. To respect each other places us firmly within the community of Christ that we are covenanting with.
For me respect means a wide range of things, thoughts, and actions. We notice each other, become aware of the journey we are all on, including the ups and downs of that journey. We honour and respect the person before us, no matter if we agree or disagree with them, no matter if we can relate to their personal journey or not, no matter if we understand them or their point of view of not. By respecting the people around us we recognise them as creations of God, worthy of our love and understanding.
Next week, as we look at our next covenant commitment, we will explore just what this respect looks like and how we can live out that respect. Respect means how we treat each other, that’s really important. Many in our world today are treated badly, not trusted, not honoured or respected and that’s not what we are called to do.
We need to think carefully and truthfully about this covenant commitment as well as next weeks!