I took these pics from a few yards away sitting in an open-air vehicle parked at a national park in South Africa. There was no fence or boundary, except the small door of the Land Rover that stopped about waist high. The family of lions who surrounded us appeared to be playful and even a little lazy. One of my daughters, I won’t say which one, commented “they act just like dogs who want to play.” But the guide warned us that we were in the wild, and these creatures were only “storing their strength for the next kill.” Then he pointed out the dried blood on the top and right side of the male lion’s mane. He further explained that if anyone stepped out of the vehicle, they would definitely die a pretty gruesome and painful death in a matter of seconds. We had already passed a host of springbok skeletons on the way to this spot, so needless to say, no one moved. Simply put, our response was a reflection of what we believed about the lion.

To say it another way, our respect for the lion’s potential had a definite affect on our behavior. That’s why the issue of respect is so important. It affects the way we respond to those around us. If we really believe we are created by God, then it should change how we…

…respond to the state patrolman who is writing our traffic violation.
…treat the person who has a foreign accent at the drive-thru.
…talk about an employer behind his back.
…react to a teacher who disciplined or corrected our child.
…think about the opposite sex.

This issue of respect has the potential to affect every aspect of our personal life, and our world. Respect is a very a powerful force. It will shape the character of your children and determine the quality of their relationships and the kind of lives they live. Think about it. Respect will affect how they…

…resolve conflict.
…cooperate on a team.
…influence change.
…build intimacy in relationships.
…respond to authority.
…perceive other cultures.
…see themselves.
…understand God.

But respect is a tricky thing. You can’t simply demand or force someone to show it.
You have to model it.
You have to earn it.
You have to give it
before you can actually expect it to transform the way someone thinks.

But if you can change how someone thinks about others, you will ultimately change how they treat others. What you believe about those around you really does have an affect on your behavior. This month on our new studio252.tv website we will be featuring resources to help families talk more about the issue of respect. Watch a video on respect here.

(The newsfeed in the column on the right explains more about studio252.tv.)