A Lack Of Respect

So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, bowed down, and kissed him. And they asked each other about their well-being, and they went into the tent. – Exodus 18:21.

I was shocked to read this morning about a man in southern Vietnam who has been sentenced to nine years in prison for causing the death of his father-in-law. The man died of an heart attack after part of his ear was bitten off by his son-in-law. The man had tried to intervene in an argument between his daughter and son-in-law and died as a result.

This is such a contrast to the respect that Moses had for his father-in-law, Jethro. Jethro at that time was not a believer and was a pagan priest but Moses still showed him the respect he deserved. Moses did not act like he was better than Jethro or attempt to humiliate him before the other Israelites. There is an important principle here for us as we attempt to lead our unbelieving family and friends to salvation.

Treating someone with respect does not mean that you have to agree with them about everything. It also does not mean that you have to let them tell you what to do or even live up to their expectations. It does mean that you treat them with respect which includes consideration and courtesy. You should treat them with at least the consideration and kindness with which you would treat a stranger.

The result of treating your family and friends with respect is that channels of communication remain open which can eventually lead to their salvation. We see this with Moses and his father-in-law. Moses treated him with respect and they were able to discuss the great miracles God had performed to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. As a result Jethro came to believe in the Hebrew God and offered sacrifices himself to the One true God (Exodus 18:12).

Is there someone in your life to whom you should show a little more respect, kindness, and consideration?

(Even those you do not like are usually due some respect on your part.)

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