As I was washing dishes this evening I was thinking about respect or lack thereof and what causes someone to not show respect for someone or something else. This thought process was stirred up after reading a review of a movie just out in theaters that makes jokes out of Jesus, the nativity and so forth. What I read really bothered me and I thought to myself, “whoever wrote this movie doesn’t realize who they’re mocking.”
Somehow our culture has arrived at a distorted, watered-down image of Jesus. Even among some people who say they follow Him, that He’s Lord of their life, seem to have not realized who it is they’re following. I saw some kids at a Christian concert once wearing shirts that said, “Jesus is my homeboy.” I’m sure whoever made the shirts had harmless intentions, just being funny, but it seems way too familiar a title for Him.
The relationship we can have with God is such a mystery and paradox. He is Creator, all-powerful, all-knowing, present everywhere, the beginning and the end, King of kings, Ruler of everything, Holy, Just, True. At the same time He chooses to be Father, Counselor, Deliverer, Guide, and even Friend to us when we put our faith in Him. How does that work? It boggles my mind!
All of this brings me to a conclusion that lack of respect for God, for Jesus, comes from a sense of self-importance. I don’t mean that we are necessarily arrogant, not everyone at least, but that we think too highly of ourselves and not highly enough of the God of the universe. When I think of disrespect in other aspects of life, I think it’s the same. Students who don’t respect teachers have an inflated sense of self-importance. They’ve forgotten or not realized their place, as student and subordinate to the authority of the teachers and adults at the school. Kids who disrespect their parents have forgotten they are the child and not in charge. People who generally don’t respect other people feel they and their needs or wants are more important.
Even though Jesus is our friend, our Savior, and loves us so much he died for us, he’s not our buddy who we should slap on the back or take along for the ride as we do our thing and call the shots. He’s not just a listening ear for whenever we need to ask for help, seek advice or comfort, or need something from Him. He is so much more, more than we can comprehend in this life.
Remember when Jesus told his disciples for the first time that they were His friends? He said it was because they did what he commanded (John 15:14). It was a friendship founded in respect and remembering that Jesus is Lord and Master – a Master who treats us as friends. (Such a mystery)
We only love God because He loved us first. And the only reason we can even draw near to Him and have a relationship with Him is because He chose to sacrifice for us, even when we were at our lowest and ugliest. We deserve punishment but He gives us forgiveness and mercy. We deserve death but He gives us true, rich life. It’s His to give, we can’t muster it up for ourselves.
Even as Jesus walked on the earth and was spending so much time with the disciples, I imagine them having good talks and laughs from time to time, but I’m sure the disciples always remembered He was greater than them. After all, He could tell the wind to stop, raise people from the dead, banish demons, heal and restore. They walked with Him in respect because they knew their place. He was teacher, they were learners. He was the leader, they followed. This was one relationship that put them and us in a loved position, a saved position, a hopeful position, but not an equal one.
The day will come when Jesus will come back and a time of judgment will happen for each and every one of us. I can’t imagine having to face God after blatantly mocking Him and His love. Psalm 111:10 says, “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.”
God is love and longs to have a close relationship with each and every person He made, but He is nobody’s homeboy.