Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Finding Respect

The common phrase that has been said all while I was growing up is, respect isn't given its earned. Now this phrase was never taught to me by my parents or any of the ministries I was affiliated with; yet, I have heard Christians say this thing as well. Its sort of surprising seeing its no where in the bible (Proverbs 24:23, 28:21 AMP). If we were to listen to what we were saying, most of us would not say it. Living by such foolishness would put plenty of people in jeopardy. As crazy as some parents have acted when raising their children, its God's mercy that has kept them safe once those children have grown. Children don't automatically respect their parents because the parents don't respect themselves or their children. Respect, most definitely, needs to be taught (1 Peter 2:17 AMP).

A few years ago, I wrote about Christians being treated like punks while believing that it was all in the name of Jesus. Hoping that it would give the sinners a heads up for them to stop treating people in such a manner but it also made me realize that the biggest culprit taking advantage of believers aren't sinners. Oddly enough, its us! Or rather, those that profess being Christian and then abusing the title as if privileged to do so. I have written about ministry, ministers, and other clergy that have used the pulpit as a means for all sorts of things other then feeding the sheep. I have been distracted by the verse, "touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm (Psalm 105:15 AMP)." Having the utmost respect for God's Word, I have been watchful of the words I use and not to mention anyone's name unless its in a positive light. My purpose for using very popular messages is for the believer to see the path for him/herself and know what the Word actually says. Those who are anointed to do as God has called them to do, can see for themselves. They study. That's why they are anointed. You cannot receive an anointing without relationship. Prophets have also a relationship with God. They are not out for their own gain. That would be selfish and not indicative of what a prophet is because its not who God is. So in using the scripture, there is a tiny two letter word that distinguishes what sort of prophet not to do harm to. That word is MY. I recognize when God is speaking and with whom He is referring. If a man or woman of God has issue with what I write because I refer to a message that is tainted with anything else but the Word, I welcome the comment and/or email.

Nevertheless, in our everyday lives, there are so many things to be distracted from where we are all supposed to be. There can be temptation at every turn depending on what your weaknesses are. If you are doing your best from using profanity, get ready for your temper to be tested (Hebrews 2:18 AMP). If escaping stress with alcohol or drugs was your vice, know that stress is going to try to creep back your way. If road rage was your resident for a moment, understand that it is trying to get back in the house (Luke 11:20-26 AMP). So ready yourself with the armor provided. You are more then a conqueror and able to withstand the storm (Romans 8:37 AMP). It makes you stronger for battle and gives you the experience and desire to stand in the gap for someone else (intercession).

Personally, I have been tested this year like gang busters. With the job I have, I must also compensate my income with other means. I chose to use the talents God has given me. In order to do this, I had to study and practice. I still have a ways to go, but earned some income. When this happens you become respected in the artist world and you begin to have a name for yourself. Little pieces of wisdom come your way to improve your craft. The reason for this is that well established artists see that you respect yourself and price your work accordingly (Zazzle). Then you have those that see what you are doing. They have their own comments which aren't always glowing. An elderly woman came up to me and made fun of me as if I was coloring in a child's coloring book. I smiled and said nothing. She then asked where she could get such a coloring book for her grand daughter. I gave her the name to an art store. She said she didn't have the means to go out there and if I could pick one of those books up when I am out there again. I said I had one right here for her. I gave her a brand new sketch pad. She opened it and saw all of the blank pages. She was so disappointed and asked what it was that I gave her. I closed the book I was working on to show her it was the same book. She asked where did I get all of the pictures. Then she knew. That look on her face after all of this time - priceless!

A young woman saw the work I was doing as well. All of the positive things she said of my art work, it seemed as if she was interested in buying something. She was. She asked for me to design a cougar pattern for her so she can get it tattooed on her back. She then told me how much she was going to pay me to do it. I never agreed to the pittance she suggested and she expected me to finish it in the few hours she had in the building. I chuckled to myself not making any sort of an attempt in what she asked for. It reminded me of when I used to sew for people. They asked for the work and then minimized the work that was put into the garment. If I did a wedding dress, there are many layers to a dress and many different fabrics that have to be used in order for the dress to lay and fall well. This is also true when drawing. The hours it has taken to study a craft to get to the point where people enjoy the work, the supplies aren't cheap nor is it cheap to sit in one place to complete the piece. Respect the craft as you would a doctor, lawyer, plumber, mechanic, or anyone else who have done the same thing.

As a young woman going to college straight from high school, I needed extra income to purchase books and supplies. How convenient it was for me to find a job so close to my home and a position for my sister as well. It was a candy company and we were so eager to be one of the first employees to a fledgling business. The owner also had parts of his family working for him. He made mention of all of the ideas he had and asked for us to grow with him. I understood he was saying all of this to keep morale at it highest but never did I think it meant that he wasn't going to pay us for all of the work we did for him. He said it would take time and there had to be a certain number of sales before he would get a profit. Three months in, I started proceedings to have him sued. He had the state, the Better Business Bureau, and some other legal mess knocking at his door when I was finished with him. I knew I no longer had a job with him but he also knew that he would never treat people like his own personal property to do with as he pleased. During this time, I had a family member discouraging me with the procedure. She kept saying that I should let God handle it. I did. I prayed and then I sued him for what he owed me. The other workers could have done the same. If they didn't, they missed out on the pay they deserved. After he lost the small claims dispute, that man still went out of his way to speak to me. I still don't have too much to say to him.

There was this young man that received a much deserved promotion. He was a valued employee and the upper management wished to show their appreciation. When he got word of the promotion, he shared the news with his co-workers who immediately congratulated him. He also shared that with the promotion, he would need to travel a little farther for the new site of his destined workplace. It was something he needed to consider but after speaking it over with his family, he was ready to make that transition. So he waited. A week or two passed and he waited some more still doing the job he had before the promotion. Upper management contacted him and asked why he wasn't at the new site. The young man was a little befuddled and said, "while you did offer the promotion and I thanked you, you also told me where the new position would be and I went out there to see if it was doable. You never discussed what my increased duties would be nor my increased salary. I figured when you were ready to do that, we could get this thing going." The managing team were taken aback never thinking of their due diligence, they assumed he would be too happy to even notice.

My point in showing these examples is that people will do what ever they need to, to get over. They might say they are Christians when the moment warrants it, but their behavior when push comes to shove shows something completely different. How will you handle it? Can you be calm across the board even when you are being taken advantage of? Do you have enough respect for yourself to speak up or do you think if you remain quiet that it would be the best thing? Do you ask God or are you assuming what the best thing is? In that assumption, where did you learn that? Is there a verse in the bible you are standing on that strengthens your position?

People believe all sorts of things and if they don't make waves then they believe Jesus is at the helm guiding the deceit because they are trying to keep the peace. How convoluted is that? A woman worked for a company that she thoroughly enjoyed. Management changed and her supervisor was promoted to a new position. The woman had to answer to someone else. She was looking forward to meeting her new supervisor until she did. The new supervisor was cantankerous all of the time. There wasn't one thing the woman could do to make it better. She never complained and internalized everything until it showed up in her skin as hives. She didn't know what the matter was believing that if she remains quiet then it would all clear up eventually. The woman continued with the matter for 12 years as her health deteriorated.

This is also true in ministry. How long will you allow for others to tell you what to do when you have a family and marriage to concern yourself with? God does not require that you sacrifice the time with your spouse for the sake of the ministry. He does require that you put things in perspective so that you can have success in your life (3 John 1:2 AMP). With respect, God shows us what the principle thing is (Proverbs 4:7 AMP). You must respect that He shows us these things. Him, being the greater one on the inside of you, you must have respect for you. People see how you carry yourself. They know what to and not to say because of that. Yet, if you don't have any respect for yourself, the behavior of the people around you will change. You see, respect is not something that is earned. Its something that is understood.

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