by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
During the summer of my sophomore year in high school, I spent a week with Sonlife Ministries receiving discipleship training while experiencing outreach on the streets of Seattle. One of the most challenging components for me was spending afternoons attempting to engage strangers in meaningful spiritual conversation. Many of the people were not very receptive to our message, and I easily felt threatened by their arguments against my Christian beliefs. Both my knowledge of God and my relationship with Him were immature at that time. I’m afraid my typical response in those conversations was often defensive and even antagonistic.
Yet when I was paired with a more mature believer, I was able to witness how to be the light of the world to others. I was amazed by the patience and tolerance of my more gracious partners. Instead of responding defensively, they would respond lovingly while listening attentively and even asking more questions. More often than not, the moment when they introduced Jesus into the conversation, the stranger listened respectfully due to the respect they had already received.
Swiss Christian physician Paul Tournier wrote, “Tolerance is the natural endowment of true convictions.” Founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries Chuck Colson expounds, “The more confident people are of the truth, the more grace they exhibit to those who don’t agree.” These quotes speak to the fact that respect toward others is not just a discipline of character, but an outflow of confidence in the truth of Jesus Christ.
During the month of March, Crosshill students will focus on the character trait of respect, which is treating others with honor and dignity. Common in today’s culture is the incorrect idea that “respect must be earned, not given.” God’s word clearly commands that respect should be given to parents, the elderly, spouses, and neighbors. In fact, all the bases were covered when Paul instructed to “honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). Genuine voluntary respect is at the heart of the gospel. Salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ cannot be earned, only given. God’s love for us is unconditional. Our love for others should reflect that unconditional love through unconditional respect.
Respect is founded upon truth. When respect is absent, truth should be reviewed as part of the training. God loves our children unconditionally. They are adopted children of a perfectly Heavenly Father. Confidence in this truth grows not only through training, but through modeling. Students who walk securely in the love of parents and teachers are more quick to reflect this love to others. As a teenager, I saw how others demonstrated respect to strangers out of the abundance of the confident love in their heart. I learned that even if it felt like others had not earned my respect, they deserved my respect. May we be quick to train and model to our children how to respect others out of the abundance of truth in our hearts.
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent