Every generation longs for, demands from, and eventually gets respect from the generation that follows them. You see it first in the young and wise as they give respect to those who have gone before. An example can be a sports prodigy. He or she respects the game and the game’s traditions. They give tribute to the innovators and trail blazers of yesterday. They respect the privileges that are theirs because of what has gone on before.
I wonder if I appreciate what has gone on before me which provides the foundation from which I now operate. Is the work and sacrifice of those who created, provided nurture, and even made the gifts of mercy, compassion, and love real visible? Do I acknowledge and respect these gifts or merely use and exploit? I hope that I give tribute where it is due but I fear that my respect is in no way proportionate to the gifts I have received.
For example, I have never been prevented from acting on my values and priorities. The blunt fact is that “neither he [Jesus] nor the Father shuts anyone out.” (John 5.22) I am invited with open arms in the same way that you are. Even with repeated failures and longs spells of abandonment the Father and Son are always present. It is difficult for either of us to appreciate the level of love and active compassion present with the Father and Son. They have gone one step further, sending their friends and children to make a difference in your life and mine. I wonder if I can really appreciate just how much difference this had made.
I have come to appreciate that you cannot disrespect anyone delivering compassion and love without criticizing God directly. For “anyone who dishonors the Son, dishonors the Father, for it was the Father's decision to put the Son in the place of honor.” (John 5.23)
What happens next? Actually it is up to you and me. Respect is best found in our actions and activities. Today is a fresh canvas, everything is possible.