Have You Been Disrespected?

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R E S P E C T.

Arethea Franklin sang it beautifully. We all want respect.

Recently I read a news article saying that most of the murders in the inner city of Birmingham, Alabama, were over a perceived lack of respect. Birmingham, like most cities, has a serious problem with homicides.

Maybe you, like I, wonder how being disrespected could cause you to commit murder and risk spending the rest of your life in jail.

The truth is we all have a problem with bitterness and respect.

How many times have you dealt with this problem? It is an inner problem. Anger or rage might be precipitated by some outward act, but bitterness is an problem of our spirit. It doesn’t always come quickly, and it certainly doesn’t go away quickly or easily.

How do we deal with this issue?

First, recognize the source of the problem. It comes from within. It’s not someone else’s problem; it’s our problem. Deal with person on the inside, and you will change the person on the outside.

One of the reasons bitterness is so difficult to overcome is we don’t “own the problem.” We explain to anyone who will listen that our bitterness is justified and our resulting behavior–even murder– is justified.

Bitterness and resentment generally come from our problem with pride.

Second, recognize how deadly bitterness is. Most people’s bitterness thankfully doesn’t end in homicide, but it often does end in death–our own. Bitterness–holding a grudge and being unwilling to forgive–is destructive in every way. It destroys relationships, and it diminishes our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

The very best thing you can do for yourself is forgive.

Third, quit claiming rights. Bitterness–life many murders–comes when we think our rights have been diminished. Claiming rights and expecting others to do as you wish will lead you straight to bitterness.

Finally, ask God to show us the way. I am at my best when I let God be my all. When I admit my weakness, He becomes strong in my life. I am always thankful and amazed at how God can calm my fears and change my heart.

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