Friday, September 3, 2010

The Theology of Mutual Respect


“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over...’

“‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil...’

~Genesis 1:28a; 2:16-17a (NIV).

Could it ever be seen from these creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 that God did not fully love humanity with a comprehensive respect to issue us an unconditional measure of free will? God’s love is so complete that free will was given to us unconditionally, but with a warning.

This is respect. It is a love-engendered trust.

And as with all relationships there is the matter of reciprocation.

‘Fear of the Lord’ - A Consummate Respect of God

“We love because he first loved us.”

~1 John 4:19 (NIV).

This love-worthy respect began from God. We reciprocated.

Many people are confused regarding the term, ‘the fear of the Lord,’ thinking it under some human terms a “fearful” thing. But it isn’t really. Sure, we can fear God for such things as the power vested in natural disasters, and perhaps even in rightful consideration of ‘the day of the Lord’—a thing or event with real theological significance—but the context here, for the purposes of the discussion, is around reciprocal respect.

And the fear of the Lord is an appropriate construct for imagining our right response.

How else are we to reciprocate relating to God’s enormous blessing of respect—to give us (and trust us with) free will?

This sort of trust is an utterly amazing concept; that we can pick and choose in life and we aren’t lorded over by God—not more than the nature of life (through her consequences) augments our learning via wisdom. This makes God all the more awesome in our sight.

Reciprocated Respect Affords Blessing

Fundamental to God-belief—which is action-oriented is this fact:

God will bless us as we reciprocate:

“Whoever despises the word and counsel [of God] brings destruction upon themselves, but they who [reverently] fear and respect the commandment [of God] are rewarded.”

~Proverbs 13:13 (Amplified [adapted for gender inclusivity]).

To believe in God is to do, willingly and enthusiastically, the things of God, and that, out of respect for the position and relationship—to reciprocate—that we find ourselves in.

God is simply to be awed for this unconscionable generosity; that we may even be positioned to reciprocate.

God walks toward us... what are we doing?

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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