Respect

by Stan Mitchell
elderlywoman.jpg“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
Granddad knew he had to say something, though it scared him silly. There had been a time when he had been a powerful man, but now he was gray haired and stooped over. His grandson Greg had stormed into the room, yelled at his grandmother for not having lunch hot and on the table. The silver haired woman sat unsteadily on the kitchen chair, put her hands in her lap, and trembled like a leaf.
Granddad followed Greg into the living room. “Son,” he began, and Greg whipped around, defensive as a politician on Sixty Minutes. “You’ve got to treat your grandmother with more respect than that.”
“Why should I?” Greg answered, “I’m bigger and stronger. “And,” he added tellingly, “she can’t make me anymore.”
“Of course she’s smaller and weaker than you,” he answered. Now the elderly man looked him straight in the eye. “You respect a frail old woman for the same reason you carry a fluorescent light bulb with care and respect; because if you don’t, it will shatter. We respect people because they are worth that respect, not because they’re bigger than us and can enforce it. What an awful world it would be if the only thing we respected was brute strength! That would mean the only people we respected would be the biggest bullies, or the ones with the biggest guns.”
Granddad turned, and left the room. He had earned a little respect himself.

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