The Lost Virtue

SDA JournalDevotional


Scripture: (1 Sam 24:6 NKJV)  And he said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.”

Observation: Saul, driven by anger and jealousy, was pursuing David to kill him.  In one of his stops Saul went into a cave to rest, but it so happened that it was the same cave where David and his men had gone in to hide.  As Saul slept, David’s men urged him to kill the king with the argument that God had delivered Saul into David’s hand.  David would not kill the king and instead restrained his men with the words of our text for today.

Application: When I was growing up, in school we all had to stand anytime a person of authority would walk into the classroom.  When the teacher walked in to begin class, we’d stand in a show of respect.  When the principal or vice principal would walk in, we would all stand to show them respect.  This was done not just by students in the elementary school but all those up to the twelve grade.  Respect!
     But it wasn’t just people in positions of authority that we needed to show respect; we were taught to show respect and to be polite to everyone.  My parents taught us to always greet everyone with a “Good Morning,” “good afternoon,” etc., regardless of who they were.  When I went to one of my friends’ house and the maid opened the door, we were to greet her respectfully.  In a society where there are great differences in social class and status, we were taught to respect everyone and treat them properly regardless of their social status.
     Respect is not limited to some cultures or some countries.  My father-in-law was a perfect example of someone who showed respect.  Living in the south, where prejudice and racial differences were strong (and still is in many places), George hired African-Americans to work for him, and always treated them fairly and respectfully.  One of the best tributes we saw and heard at his funeral was from those men who had worked for him through the years speak of him more like a father to them than simply their boss.  I was the recipient of his respect as well.  As a young man, married to his oldest daughter, he treated me from the first day we were dating as a member of the family.  He asked my advice, share with me his thoughts and feelings, talked about his concerns.  After he was diagnosed with brain cancer, he had his will drawn up.  I remember we were visiting Pam’s family for the weekend and while the ladies were out shopping, he came to me, showed me his will, and asked for my opinion, as to whether I thought he was being fair and correct in the decisions for his estate.  Not only did I think he was indeed fair in his decisions, but the act of asking me, someone a couple of decades his junior, for my opinion showed me his care and respect for me.
     We seem to have lost the virtue of respect in our day.  Today, it is people in authority that are always wrong – at least that’s the message we transmit to our children.  Teachers are wrong for giving too much or too little homework, or for not giving our children the highest grade, even if they didn’t do the work that deserved that grade.  Police officers are always wrong for arresting someone, even if that person hurt, killed, or threatened to kill them or someone else.  It’s as if we have come to the place where our children must be right or we must be right and everybody else therefore has to be wrong.
     For me, David’s actions with Saul showed that you can show respect even to your enemies or to those that treat you wrongly; it doesn’t make you any less than they are.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, help us to rediscover the lost virtue of respect and to teach it to our children.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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