A Study In Respect For Others

Our slogan this month is ‘Respect begins with me.’ Our study for today is the well known event of the healing of Naaman, the leper, found in 2 Kings 5. This is a microcosmic look into the results of both respect and disrespect in the lives of ordinary and the not so ordinary people. The ultimate result of respect and respect learned was that a man was healed of leprosy and another stricken with it. God received a follower and God’s reputation was enhanced. If you were to see yourself in the actions of any of these characters, which might it be?

  • Naaman thought he deserved more respect than he felt Elisha showed to him. Have you ever been that character who thought that others were disrespectful to you? Maybe it was a driver on the road, a teller in the bank, a clerk at the store, your husband or wife or children. Naaman, who came to be healed, almost “cut off his nose to spite his face.” Our respect for others will always keep us from demanding respect for ourselves (Phil. 2:3-4). The respect we demand from our children or our employees is for their benefit (I hope), not our pride.
  • Naaman’s servants acted with great respect for their master. With obvious affection for their master, they addressed him with a common term of endearment and respect when they said, “My father…” This same expression is used by Elisha toward Elijah in 2 Kings 2:12. Their respect is so obvious that what they say comes across, not as a rebuke or reproof (though both would have been in order), but more as a plea to not miss this opportunity. While Naaman was being his own worst enemy in receiving this healing, they patiently were respecting his well being. Such respect is taught by Paul to Timothy and we who wish to be servants of the Lord. Many are their own enemy in obtaining salvation, but we must respect their soul enough to patiently try to win them.
  • Gehazi committed an act of foolishness in failing to respect the wishes of his master, Elisha. In this case, greed drove his disrespect. Has something you wanted (lust of the flesh, eyes or pride of life) ever driven you to take advantage of someone, be less than honest with someone or simply use someone’s goodness for your selfish purposes? All such is disrespectful.
  • Namaan, by finally treating Elisha’s directions with respect, gained not only his health, but a completely new perspective about God (I like to believe he gained salvation). This is a great example of the importance of perspective. If we look at things God’s way (Matt. 5:48), we will have a respect for others that will benefit us and them.
  • There are other lessons about respect to be gleaned in this event. Why don’t you brainstorm some of them with a friend or family member?

–Mike Glenn (e-bulletin 4-2)