Random Blog Clay Feet: February 07, 2008
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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Does God Respect Me?

I just had a thought that made me feel very uneasy but seemingly without justification. I was telling God how impressed I was at how He orchestrates various readings or events to all talk about the same subject just when I need it and He replied, “So I'm organized. What's such a big deal about that? Wouldn't you expect Me to be organized? There's a lot of other things about me a whole lot more attractive than being organized!”

I certainly had to agree with that and realize that in my beginning stages of being attracted to the truth about God that getting really excited about His characteristic of being organized is a bit simplistic, though certainly not bad. But He wants me to move beyond my amazement at His ability to coordinate things in life to really getting excited about much more intimate things that will bond us much more tightly together. Jesus had a similar problem when people of His day were more interested in experiencing miracles than they were in experiencing the inner transformation of the gospel, the real truth about God that He came to show us.

Then I heard something that struck me as strangely odd. He said that He respects me. That is even why He does not make me feel stupid for getting awestruck about such a mundane thing as being organized.

Respect me?! God respects me? Something about that seems very strange and almost irreligious. Then it began to dawn on me – the reason it sounds so strange is because my typical perception of God from my past does not allow for me to believe that about Him. It is exposing yet another lie about Him that prevents me from appreciating His attitude toward me and responding in love and admiration for Him.

The more I ponder this idea the more awestruck I am even to the point of tears. The idea that God would respect me almost seems to have more impact on me than the almost worn-out phrase that He loves me. But then it also makes a lot of sense in light of the things we learned about the differences between men and women from the Love and Respect seminars. Women crave and need love more than anything else in life to thrive and flourish, but men's most deepest need is to feel respected. This goes far beyond any desires to feel loved even though that is a very real need. When a man feels respected it connects with something at the deepest level of his psyche and brings an intense emotion of satisfaction and – well – a sense of real love and value. A male mind spells love with the letters, r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

So if God says that He respects me He is telling me that He really does understand me and is willing and even eager to meet my deepest needs to realize a sense of value and identity. And as I continued to think about this issue of respect I also realize that respect is at the heart of all true freedom. There can never be real freedom without a great deal of respect. That is why we are seeing the very rapid erosion of all of our freedoms today in our society. People in power have lost all respect for others and are employing their authority in abusive ways to dominate and control the lives of everyone under their influence. Power corrupts. They are living only for themselves and increasingly use their position to exploit others for their own selfish ends.

But God is not like the way we have been treated by abusive leaders and parents. God is full of both love and respect for all of the beings He has created. That is precisely why this whole Great War has gone on for so long. It is because He has so much respect for our freedom to choose for ourselves that He has allowed the whole sin experiment to run its full course. He knows that to shorten it in any way would create a loophole for it to return again for another round and He does not want that to ever happen. So He treats everyone with the utmost respect for their freedom and dignity because His opinion of each one of us is of infinite value no matter what we have done or thought about Him.

God's respect for my freedom means that I am allowed to make mistakes without censure or condemnation from Him. And even seemingly more crazy than that, He then has to step in repeatedly to limit the natural consequences of my mistakes so that I can learn from them instead of being destroyed by them. (I just finished writing about this very thing this morning and am posting it on my other site.) Respect also involves exercising His grace to protect me from myself and the full impact of my mistakes while I am given undeserved opportunities to come back without fear and then grow through the experience. That is a level of respect that is foreign to me but is also very appealing. Yes, that is definitely even more attractive than the ability to be organized.

(But I still think its cool when He has a devotional reading or some surprise source to reinforce what He has brought me from another direction or talked to me about in my heart just before I came across it.)