Respect Yourself!

by Fola Ojo

The parable of the humbled guest in Luke 14:7-11 is a good one that continues to reinforce the sermonette on self-respect.

And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them.8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him; 9. And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted”.

The word “Respect” is defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. It is also known as regard, esteem, reverence, deference and honor.

Respect is not a freebie tossed on your lap because you THINK you deserve it. It is not made available because you demand it. A leader is respected by his followers because he has earned it through a transparent lifestyle that is not mangled between deception, dishonesty, manipulation, and haughtiness.

For example, a political leader is not respected because of his/her oratorical prowess, and a servant of God does not draw respect because of his gymnastic gyration on the altar of God. In my two decades of pastoral perspicacity, I have found out that a man of God is not respected because of the kind of car he drives, the designer clothes he darns, the Rolex watch he straps, the grammar he hammers, the endless list of his degrees, or his ability and agility to shed bloody sweat in prayer. A man of God is respected because his words match his walks. When our words match our walks, in Imesi-Ile where I come from, it is called self-respect.

People are not looking for a perfect man. Even fools know that there is none who is perfect. But people hunger for a leader who first respects himself by not disrespecting his followers with pertinacious thoughts fraught with impudent naivety that he can ride a roughshod on their intelligence. Followers cannot be run over by litany of lies and panoply of deception for too long. These only last a very, very short span. Persons in authority who think they are having a field’s day robbing and clubbing their followers into submission will be shocked to find out that people may be deliberately mute, but they can still see through their leaders, and are deft deciphering the color of lies.

Self-Respect triggers blessings from God and man. Self-Respect opens doors that no man can shut. Self- Respect draws men and women of substance to you in a manner that deception can’t and never will. The house you want to build for yourself, self- respect will build it. The car you want to drive, self-respect will buy it. The woman or man you want to marry, self-respect will vehicle him/her to your life. Money and success will be made available to you on a pedestal of self-respect. That position you seek will be handed over to you when you are respected. And the world will respect you if you respect yourself. For our African politicians specializing in the mastery of thieving, hear this: thieves are not respected, they are rejected. It may take a while before judgment comes, but it will come.

So, respect yourself!

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