Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honorÖ (Romans 12:10).

So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, ďDo you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one anotherís feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them (John 13:12-17).

If I belong to God, I should respect you. Why? God created me in His image, and God created you in His image (Genesis 1:27). If I respect God, I must respect you.

If you are in Christ, I have two reasons to respect you. Not only did God create us in His image, but God also recreated us in Christ (Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:9-11). Everything we are physically and spiritually we owe to God.

What does it mean for a person in Christ to respect another person in Christ? (1) It means I will never give you reason to distrust me. I will always hold you in honor. I will value your reputation as much as I value my own. I will be as sensitive about your person as I am about mine. I will be as devoted to your spiritual success as I am devoted to my own spiritual success. I look at you as a trust given to me by God. Because we belong to Christ, we belong to the same family. That means family relationship in Christ is bigger than any sibling rivalry or dispute.

(2) It means I do not deceive you. I will be honest with you and about you. What I say to you will be consistent with what I say to others about you. Your integrity is important to me. I will handle your integrity as carefully as I would want you to handle my integrity.

Being a Christian no more gives me the right to seek your destruction than it gives me the right to ask God to destroy you. Being a Christian no more gives me the right to seek to harm you than it gives me the right to ask God to harm you. By Godís act, we were both forgiven. By Godís act, we both continue among the saved. By Godís act, we are part of His family. Neither of us have what we have in Christ by our own goodness. Both of us are what we are in Christ because of Godís goodness.

So I honor you as a brother or sister. My honor is genuine, not pretended (Romans 12:10-16). I honor you because we are together in Christ. When we disagree, I still honor you. When you succeed, I honor you. When you fall, I pick you up. I do for you what God does for me. You do for me what God does for you.

My honor for you causes others to honor the Christ who made you and me. We expose all to Christís kindness by showing holy manners to each other. When people fail to see holy manners in society, we show them such manners by the way we treat each other.


David Chadwell
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 24 May 2007

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