Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love you enemies…that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5.43-44
We all have differences. Some of us like chocolate, some of us like fruit. Some of us like blue, some of us like red. Some of us like maths, some of us love to read.
There are people we get on with, and people who are very different from us, who we struggle to understand. It’s always been like this. Jesus’ command is that we allow each other to be different – even enjoying the things that make us so varied – and then go a step further. We recognise that even when we disagree, even when we have totally separate ideas and ways of doing things, we are all still people. Valuable. Loved by God and worthy of being loved by each other.
Respect isn’t about all pretending to be the same. It’s seeing that we are as diverse as the colours of the rainbow, and learning to love and enjoy each of those colours without ever forgetting our own.
Stories about Respect
Jesus heals a man with Leprosy (Luke 5.12-16)
Other people wouldn’t go near this kind of person, but Jesus touches him, and he is instantly healed
Jesus calls Matthew (Matthew 9.9-13)
Jesus asks Matthew, a tax collector whom the Pharisees hated, to follow him. He even has supper with Matthew’s friends.
Peter helps Cornelius find faith in Jesus (Acts 10)
Peter goes to see Cornelius, a Gentile, whom Jews weren’t supposed to meet with – because God showed him that he loved everyone.