To help introduce his sermon topic last weekend, Pastor Rick Warren rhetorically asked his congregation at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, and a global online audience whether the world is becoming more respectful or more disrespectful.
BY ALEX MURASHKO
The question shouldn’t be too hard for anyone in the United States to answer, especially considering today’s political climate in America.
Just prior to asking the question, Warren pointed to the character of respect as the number one quality to practice in order to have a remarkable life (sermon theme).
“If I want to build a remarkable life and a remarkable career I must learn to be respectful to everyone,” he said. “This is the starting point. Respect is the foundation of a remarkable life. Respecting others shows reverence for God, it shows humility in the way you relate to other people.”
In case anyone was wondering why he placed respect as the “number one quality for a remarkable life,” Warren said, “Because today, everybody is rude. … We’re getting ruder. The world is becoming more uncivil. The more rude the world gets the more a person who is respectful of everybody becomes remarkable.”
Warren explained that a respectful person in today’s world stands out “like a bright star on a dark night.”
He shared the definition he found on respect: To appreciate the uniqueness, value the worth, and affirm the dignity of everyone because God made them.
Warren continued, “Anytime you disrespect anything God made it’s an insult to God. When we don’t respect other people we’re basically saying ‘God, you goofed up. You made a mistake. And you should have made everybody like me … I’m the standard of perfection here.’”
Watch full sermon below.
He said it would be impossible for anyone to be the standard because “everybody is broken.”
Disrespect is the opposite of humility Warren stressed.
“Anytime I’m rude to you, or anybody is rude to you, or anytime you’re rude to anyone else you are revealing ego,” he said. “You think, in that moment that you don’t need to be respectful.”
Warren said there are many times that it’s shown in the Bible that someone is blessed for being respectful.
“If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored by others.” — Matthew 23:12
“God leaves no wiggle room about this,” Warren said.
As part of a list he shared, 10 different types of people were mentioned who God said must be shown respect. Included in the list were immigrants and government leaders.
“You must never mistreat any foreigners who are living in your country. Instead you must treat them just as you treat your own citizens. Love foreigners as you love yourselves, because you remember that your ancestors were foreigner at one time in a new land. I am the Lord your God!” — Leviticus 19:33-34
Warren said he could continue with a list of 30-40 verses that reference respect, however, he stressed one final point on the subject after reading Matthew 7:12.
“In everything, do to others what you would want them to do to you.” This sums up all the law and the prophets.
“This stuff is not rocket science, he said. “Treat people the way you want to be treated.”
He added, “You are never going to win anyone to Christ who you disrespect.”