My last name is Cornwell, but I am most certainly not British, at least not very recently. But for some reason my heart screams out with a British accent when it says “Respect me lest I die.” I believe it may have seen Braveheart or believes the accent will make me more prone to listen to it. I do not know what your heart screams or if it has an accent when it does but if you are a man I assume on a pretty regular basis your heart scream out with a desire for more respect.

Water, Food, Air, & Respect

They say you can go three days without water, three weeks without food, and 3 minutes without food. I know many people have but as a general rule of thumb you don’t want to test those limits. I don’t believe a man can go a day without respect. Just like with our need for water he might pass that time restraint but he will spend every waking hour thirsting for it.

A quick glance at marriage books will show you that many who believes that it is respect that too often fuels a man. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs took 500 pages to tell us that “that unconditional respect is as powerful for him as unconditional love is for her” in his book Love and Respect. The premise of his book came from the well-known verse in Ephesians that “let everyone of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

Insatiable Need for Respect

When I find articles online about respect, I find many articles telling kids to respect their parents. In the second place, I find several articles telling wives to respect their husbands. What I did not find (I might if I looked harder) were articles telling me to stop needing so much respect to function. There is a measure of respect that we deserve as leaders of our home but if all we would be honest there is a time were, we have an insatiable desire for more respect. The odd thing about it is the more receive, the more we crave. We must find a way to plugged the hole, or our lives will implode.

Mixes with Everything

Jonathan Edwards said, “Pride is the worst viper in the heart… . It lies lowest of all in the foundation of the whole building of sin. Of all lusts, it is the most secret, deceitful, and unsearchable in its ways of working. It is ready to mix with everything. Nothing is so hateful to God, contrary to the spirit of the Gospel, or of so dangerous consequence. There’s not one sin that does so much to let the devil into the hearts of the saints and expose them to his delusions.”

The phrase “it is ready to mix with everything” hit me right between the eyes. It is amazing to me all the things I have made as a litmus test to someone showing me the respect I believe I deserve. I would hate to work with me and most certainly would hate to be married to me with the “me monster” goes untamed. Daily and in a million ways my pride is “ready to mix” with anything to cause me to be offended by someones actions toward me.

History of Men

I think it is a fair to assume that much of the history of America is the history of men trying to gain respect from one another. It really is a strong motivator that leads us to pushing ourselves to new levels. It can be seen in the big events of us landing on the moon and it can be seen in small ways as the guy besides you at the red light revs his engine. Sometimes this motivation leads to good results. As a teenager I wanted the pats on the back from doing what people told me was right. Now with less people to pat me on the back the motivation to do right must come from within and it must be much deeper than just a desire to gain respect from others.

One of the clearest pictures of desire for respect/fame is in the story of the Tower of Babel. Can you imagine each time they built another story they would stand back and beat their chest? Their wives might say, “don’t you think that is good enough.” People are passing by might say “wow” but the “wow” would not be loud enough. They would want to keep building until they had “made a name for themselves”. The desire for respect drives us to make all types of decisions.

How will you react?

Here is the question I submit to all of you who are still reading. Feeling disrespected will cause a reaction. Are you confident enough about who you are not to react in the wrong manner? This feeling shows its power when we break things in front of our wives to show her our power. It shows its evil when we scream at our kids and take pleasure in their obedience because it makes us feel in charge. It shows it’s ability to make us illogical when it causes us not to desire to go to bed with our wives because as much as we want sex we want respect more. It shows its pettiness when we evaluate the tone and structure of every sentence to try to figure out what people “really meant”. Well, how is that for transparency. If you took a moment, I believe you would find it to be the same in your life.

After church on one occasion, I left before I planned because every word I heard felt like sandpaper against my pride. Saying so many words, typing so many words and working with people there are many opportunities for someone not to love what you said. Come on we all know it is not enough for us to just to agree or like what we said. We “need” them to adore our every word.

Example of Three Men

There is good news. We do not have to be a prisoner to reacting wrongfully when there is an occasion for us to feel disrespected. After David kills Goliath we see the reactions of three different men. Each one of them had the opportunity to feel threatened and grasp for respect.

Jonathan to David

1 And it came to pass when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his soul. 2 And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant because he loved him as his soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. I Samuel 18:1-4

Look at it from Jonathan’s perspective. Jonathan had witnessed a young man about his age become the national hero. Jonathan was next in line for the throne. He watched David’s wisdom as he spoke with his father, Saul. Instead of reaching for his sword Jonathan took his robe and gave it to David. Jonathan said I can give to David without panicking because my earthly position didn’t define me. This is such a hard thing to do. We do not like to have our position threatened. Because of this we are rarely in a position where we are willing to help someone.

Saul’s reaction.

6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. 7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. 8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him, and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? 9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward. 10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. 11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice. 12 And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul. 13 Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand, and he went out and came in before the people. I Samuel 18:6-13

Look at it from David’s perspective. He was once the next big thing; now people are chanting for David. He watched as David accomplished something he was not even willing to attempt, in killing Goliath. We all know the name of that evil spirit that visited Saul. His heart screamed out “Respect me lest I die” in Hebrew. His pride told him David’s success was his loss. Saul agreed with this conclusion and acted upon this feeling of being disrespected.

David was winning battles for his kingdom. David was not his enemy. The greatest throne to the throne didn’t come from the enemy or David but Saul. Saul could not handle someone’s success and would lead to him imploding.

David to Saul

And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him. 1 Samuel 18: 14

Here we see David’s victory in two battles. Pride says you should defend yourself. David said I will be made king because it comes from God, not by my strength. I will let God defend me. I will not be lifted up in pride.

What is your story? There will be times there will be a plot twist in your life. Will it change your character? There will be times when you will not be viewed the way you wish to be viewed. Will you desire to correct them define your life? There will be times of success in life. Will you see it as a gift from God and trust Him as you move into that position?

David was able to “behave wisely” because he knew who he was and who he would become would be decided by God and not the opinion of Saul. Jonathan was able to step aside and recognize how God was using David because he was secure in his standing before God even if he would not become king.

This will help you “behave wisely” next time.

Knowing who we are in Christ is vital if we do not want to feed our insatiable desire for respect. If you find yourself, as I often do, dealing with large doses of insecurity then you need to meditate on the Scriptures.

Memorize one of these verses or a verse that will help you deal with the reactions you have when you feel disrespected.

I am the rightful, God-chosen leader of this home no matter who questions my decisions. Don’t forfeit this.

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Ephesians 5:23

I am accepted by Christ regardless of whoever may reject me. Live as one who is accepted not one who is rejected.

Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Romans 15:7

I will not fight for my rights but look to minister to others. I will not live a life serving for vainglory.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Philippians 2:3

I will find my peace and purpose in nothing outside of God. I will not look to find what I am looking for in my next argument.

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:5