I could say a lot of cynical and sarcastic things here, observe the irony, engage in some gallows humor, attack the messenger, and generally engage in some frolicking good times, but several commenters on facebook have already beat me to it.
I wish I could tell you that I would never do such things, that I am virtuous and good, willing to overlook everyone’s flaws rather than to engage in ridicule and mockery, but it just isn’t true. I love to vent and blow off some steam, especially when it comes to cultural icons, politicians, and prosperity preachers. That’s not all bad, a bit of irreverence is good for the soul, especially if one is counter-acting the reverence sometimes invested in mere men. I mean, for crying our loud come on down off that pedastal and join the mere mortals….
Just the same there is something to be said for putting away such childish things now and then, for letting go of one’s sarcasm and for simply taking the message on face value. TD Jakes is quite right in this little diddy, one cannot sow disrespect and reap honor. Sometimes it sure looks that way in the world, it appears to be true, as if people are rewarded for such things, as if the more disrespect you sow, the greater the harvest you will reap.
But is it true? I think not. I think our souls know the truth. I think some part of us somewhere, gets it, realizes that the world is broken, that human beings are deeply flawed, that often practicing virtue comes with an obvious price, not an obvious reward. Do we really reap what we sow? Or is cultivating honor and showing respect more likely to just get you kicked in the head?
I can’t answer that outside the context of faith, because there are some genuine worldly benefits to acting like a complete lunkhead. If one is going to be conformed to the world, then one is going to observe that virtue is not often rewarded, except perhaps in your soul, in storing treasures up in heaven, in making the world a better place. In terms of personal worldly gain, not so much.
In the context of love however, I think the idea that we can sow respect and therefore cultivate honor is a good principle to hang onto. People have a mysterious way of often living up to our expectations, so you sow some respect, cultivate your own honor and conversely theirs, too. Or at least you try. The trying is everything. It doesn’t always work out, but you try.
When it comes to romance, love, marriage, “sow respect, reap honor” really does work. Something that’s gone a bit awry in the world is showing one another respect, being kind, overlooking flaws. Women hold a special kind of power here, we have an important role in creating the truth and reality behind, “sow respect, reap honor.”
Also, let me toot the feminine horn here and mention that ain’t always so easy! It takes some genuine strength, a strong stomach, and some amazing rose colored glasses.