We know the Bible says to love our enemies because even if they are in opposition to us, our enemies are people God loves. Think about it, we were once enemies of God when He sent His Son to die for us. Why? He considered us to be of high worth. In the same way, if someone is against us, it doesn’t mean he or she isn’t loved and honored by God.
We can respect someone and not be in agreement with him or her. We can respect the person, even when we disagree. We can still show honor, even in competition, even in conflict. In fact, showing respect in disagreement can often be what wins over a brother or sister.
We can demonstrate respect to our children by showing respect to the person who is contrary to us in behavior, attitude, speech, or beliefs.
Matthew 5:44 love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
Romans 12:20 “Therefore, ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’”
To heap coals of fire on someone’s head is a figurative phrase that means your good deeds could awaken the person to remorse and hopefully repentance.
Don’t just love someone from the inside of your heart; let that love compel you to do something on the outside to demonstrate that love. Show respect to the person in opposition and demonstrate respect to those who are watching, including your children.
In addition, demonstrating respect should also be shown when we are in competition in sports, business, academics, or other competition. We should play fair. If we win we should not boast. If we loss, we should not pout, rather congratulate the winner. We should demonstrate and teach our children when we do our best; it is okay not to come in first place. We need to teach the importance of teamwork and working together with respect for one another.