How To Differentiate Respect From Worship?

You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.

– Angel in Revelation 22:9

I reflected on the difference between worship and respect. It occurred when this was brought up by my husband, or boyfriend at the time. He asked me, “Why are you praying to Mary? She is not god”. As a former Catholic, my answer was automatic, more like a reflex. “I am not praying to her, I am showing respect. It is like venerating her”. My husband’s witty answer was “Why are you not respecting me the way you do to her?” That made me think about and do a study on the practices of the Catholic traditions. Mainly on the topic of veneration.

Bible Reading

Today’s devotional reading is from the Book of Esther 3:2. Please, read our recent devotional from the Book of Acts 1:6-7: What Is Really About To Happen?

What Respect Entails

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets (Matthew 7:12), the golden rule that we all know. The meaning of this is to show regard to others because they hold the image of God. However, this does not mean minding your own business and acting like you don’t care when others are doing wrong. As the saying goes, respect begets respect

Our thinking should be on what is the basis of why we show consideration to others. As I have said, each one of us is an image-bearers of God. Moreover, the manner we treat and carry ourselves is also a sign of respect. Paul wrote, 19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Therefore, when we respect others and ourselves we are respecting God. While if we do the contrary we are disrespecting Him, who gave us life.

The Difference

In verse 2, Haman wanted to be praised by the people. But Mordecai refused to bow and pay homage because it is only Yahweh that he worships. If Haman did not take pride in his position, Mordecai’s act of not bowing to him will not affect him that all.

This is where the difference comes in. Respect is ought to be given to all men and women regardless of ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status. Moreso, it is what should Christians do to show that they acknowledge everyone as God’s creation, like themselves.

While worship, veneration, and praying only belong to the Triune God. The God who created everything sovereign overall and gives justice to everyone.

Reflection

This is the time for your journaling. Reflect on these questions. Ask the Holy Spirit to test your faith and your walk with Christ.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? — 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV
  1. Do you respect others?
  2. What is your basis for respecting them?
  3. How do you show your respect?
  4. Are you venerating deity other than God through Jesus Christ?
  5. If so? Do you agree that you are praying to that deity?
  6. Reflect on your actions. Rationalize if it is scriptural.
  7. If it is not are you ready to repent from the sin? Accept Jesus Now.

Prayer

O God, sovereign over all. We bless and adore your holy name. Thank you for the gift of life and for our bodies that serve as the temple of the Holy Spirit. O Lord, Jesus Christ, thank you for teaching us to respect each other and saved us from our wickedness. May the Holy Spirit guide us as we live keeping in mind that respect should be given to all as well as to ourselves.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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