Exodus 20: 13 You shall not kill
News media reports that more 82 shootings took place in Chicago over the July 4th weekend. There were 16 people killed at least. In America, it seems that no matter where you turn in our society there are murders.
With murder rate of 10 in every 100,000, your chances of being murdered are far greater than your chances of dying in an airplane or automobile crash.
Murder is total disrespect of life. Life is given to us is a miracle. With science, we may think we can explain it. Once, I had the opportunity to hear a retired nurse of 33 years speak who witnessed hundreds of babies being born. She said that the first breath was a miracle. Everyone relaxed in the delivery room, but if there was no crying, things begin to happen fast in that room.
When we lose “respect,” we have lost the most important part of who we are as a person. With no respect for ourselves, we experience a personal lost of purpose and meaning in our life. With no purpose or meaning in life, life is void of any meaningful road map.
Disrespect can be learned. We see it in our social settings. It is the absence of greetings, thank-yous, smiles, helping someone, and in time, with no respect it becomes normal practice. With no respect, the person sees no value for anything.
Disrespect can be heard in our choice of words. There are some words that become a part of our vocabulary, which leads toward disrespect. We have a “word” in our society illustrates total disrespect. This word has become more and more widely used. As we used this word, there is growing disrespect for ourselves and other people. The word is “f----.”
Disrespect is found in our attitude toward in our actions. “Bullying” has been widely discussed. “Bullying” is attitude that is developed to cover up your own weakness and fears. Acting tough or rude are actions of disrespect and indifference toward other people.
We should seek ways of showing respect. Recently, on Clay Street, I saw a two-year-old boy in the street as I was driving east.
The boy was facing in my direction, but there was a car coming going west toward the setting sun.
Suddenly, an older man came running down the driveway and grabbed the little boy moments before he was about to be hit. This type of action showed respect for life. In his ministry, Jesus showed respect from the tax collector to the prostitute. Respect means caring and discovering the purpose for your life.
The act of respect is living the life that Jesus demonstrated in His ministry. We need to respect each other and accept the differences that there may be in each of us. Respect will help us to demonstrate the love for life that God has given us beginning with that first breath.
Respect for life is growing in your understanding of God in your life. As people of God, we arrived to a wall of necessity of changing our social settings. In our living, we need to illustrate more respect and God’s love as a way living life. No laws will bring about this change in our social settings until we allow the love of God to become our compass point in life.
Beginning around 2004, the men’s prison at Newton started a volunteer faith-based program. However, in December 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Eighth District ruled this program was unconstitutional. With that ruling the program had to be dropped. The faith-based program was to help men to move toward respect for themselves and for people in our society. We need similar types of programs that will move our social setting toward the grace and mercy of God.
In Clarke Community Elementary School, Assistant Principal Randy Bolton has directed a program of “The Leader in Me.” The goal of the program is help the student find respect for in self and then respect in others. The long-term goal is carry this respect into life. At Clarke, we can be proud that we have the administration, teachers and staff working with students to discover the importance of developing respect for self and others. The Clarke community has given support of this program.