"You don't want to give someone a limp hand like a dead fish. A handshake is like a hug at arm's length. Firm up your hand. You want to tense the muscles in your hand, and grasp theirs like a good hug. That's better, you've got it. Now look me in the eye. When you shake hands you always look them in the eye."
That is an example of a lesson from my father when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I remember those lessons like it was yesterday. They included eating while sitting upright, one hand on lap, one hand to eat with, and many such things.
Lessons included shining shoes because a good shine on the shoe and a firm handshake will be the first impressions someone has of you. Always return something borrowed or rented in better shape than what you received it. When camping always leave a camp site neater and in better shape than when you got there - pick up the trash of others, even if just one piece, and throw it away with your trash.
The 10...Commandments, or Suggestions...?
What my dad was teaching me was respect, honor, integrity. He didn't always put those labels on his lessons, but he knew what he was doing. With those lessons now a part of who I was, on my first date with Barb, when she was 15 and I was 16, she later reflected how I was different than the other boys she had been on dates with. Including that I opened the car door and other doors for her, was polite and considerate. (Yes, I still open car and other doors for her)
But I really think our mutual fates were sealed when I asked after the movie, "Would you like to stop for a donut?" I spent the last of my money on that little impromptu stop at Dunkin Donuts. But even that stop was grounded in what my dad taught me about consideration, respect, honor - in this case doing something nice for my new girl friend just because I thought she'd like it. That gesture was one of honor and respect, and consideration.
In Exodus 20 God gives Moses the 10 Commandments, which are divided into the first 4 which are vertical, pertaining to God, and the last 6 are horizontal, pertaining to man.
The first 4 are traced directly to the first command: Have no other gods before me, you shall not make any idol, you will not use My Name in a vain way, you will take a day of rest. These 4 are summed up in 'You will have no gods but Me'.
The remaining 6 are summed up with the first one of the group: Honor your father and mother. The rest flow from and can be traced back to honoring your father and mother, for to honor mom and dad is to NOT do the following: You will not murder, you will not commit adultery, you will not steal, you will not lie, you will not lust (improper desire for things or persons).
These were later summarized as Jesus stated in Mark 12: 29-31: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and mind and strength, and the second is this; Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."
Steps away from honor
Today we see in the US and all over the world, a basic lack of honor, respect, and value. Human life is not valued as it once was, neither are national leaders, and in the US, dishonoring the flag has become a national debate. Again in the US, which seems (sadly) to lead world pop culture in all that is ungodly, we have athletes refusing invitations to be honored at the White House because they don't like the President, athletes making rude comments about the President, his wife and family.
Actors and business leaders saying and being rude to the President and Presidency. In the US we even have States and cities refusing to honor federal law because they don't agree with it - you name it, if it is a law, a person in authority, a long-standing institution, tradition, or societal norm, it is under attack. Even if a Governor, Mayor, or citizen doesn't agree with a law, it becomes acceptable to let the world know and in turn attack that law, or office or person.
What starts a person or nation down the path to losing all sense of honor and respect?
Romans 1: 21 and 28 outline the first steps away from knowing honor and respect:
"For even though they knew God (as Creator) they did not honor Him as God, neither did they give thanks for his wondrous creation." (Amplified Version) v21
"They knew all the time there is a God, yet they refused to acknowledge Him as such, or to thank Him for what He is and does." (J. B. Phillips translation). v21
"And just as they did not seem fit to acknowledge God or consider Him worth knowing (as their Creator), God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things that are improper and repulsive." (Amplified Version) v28
"Moreover, since they considered themselves too high and mighty to acknowledge God, He allowed them to become the slaves to their degenerate minds, and to perform unmentionable deeds." (J.B. Phillips translation) v28
The first step towards no respect for human life, no respect for authority or moral and societal norms, is to refuse to acknowledge God as God. Once a person does that they are saying they don't want His influence in their lives, so He gives them what they want - thoughts apart from His influence. It was their choice, all He is doing is letting them have what they want.
Once such a person is turned over by their choice to think thoughts separate from any influence by God, you have a person walking a path to their own destruction. Soon we have families falling apart, society, and eventually, the disregard for living according to law based on strong moral foundations.
Next week more about the process of not wanting to retain God in their knowledge....until then, to the donuts!
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