“R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Find out what it means to me.” I used to love this song by Aretha Franklin as a little girl. I loved the beat and the attitude. The desire and demand for respect is a message resonates with everyone.

There is a great marriage book titled Love and Respect. This book explores, in part, how men need respect from their wives. I believe that not only husbands, but every person alive, desires to be respected.

One of the most common desires of humanity is to be admired or held in high regard. Our source of truth, the word of God, has several verses that highlight this human cry. Many verses use various words to address the theme of respect: esteem, high regard and honor. Some of my favorite verses regarding being respectful are Philippians 2:3, 1 Corinthians 10:33, Romans 12:10, Proverbs 21:21, and my fave: 1 Peter 3:15-16.

Jesus makes it clear to us in many ways that when we have a desire for someone to treat us in a particular way, we need to treat them as we desire to be treated. This is the Golden Rule. There is a biblical principle that teaches us that the same measure we give something out, we will get it back in return: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you,” (Luke 6:38, NIV).

This principle of giving respect to others before expecting respect ourselves has proven true in my life so many times. Often when I am feeling bereft or shortchanged, the lack of respect I sense completely turns around when I start behaving more respectfully to others. Anytime I am put out by my husband not fulfilling my need for respectful conversation, if I am truly honest with myself, I realize that I have been disrespectful first. In contrast, when I talk respectfully to him, he talks respectfully to me.

You may be thinking right about now, “Well, I should not have to do it first.” You can stick to that thought and suffer by not sowing into your life the powerful, life-giving words that God has enabled you to use, or you can sow into your life the type of behavior you want to see returned to you. As you read this, you might be thinking, “I want a little more respect in my life.”

An acronym for R.E.S.P.E.C.T. that I developed reminds myself of practical steps I can implement to give respect to others. Then I wait and see that it will in come back to me in due time:

R. Resist complaining, gossiping, blaming, over-apologizing
E. Exude authenticity, confidence, empathy, humility
S. Speak life-giving words, scripture, sincerely, simply
P. Praise others, God, generously, often
E. Extra 10% goes beyond the expectations, do a little more than you need to, share fully
C. Collaboration by working in teams, asking other’s opinions, listening to critics and fans
T. Transparency evidenced by being real, humble, vulnerable, and sharing your point of view