Hungry Man: Respect Hunger
Of course, everyone wants to be loved. Everyone needs to be seen as special, unique, important, valued. These are at the core of what it means to be human. It’s written in our DNA. And yet, there is something deep within the hearts of men that stands out among all other needs and hungers. It’s not a “more than” comparison…it’s an issue of completely different substance. This is the need for respect.
There are few things that really get my goat. Overall, I’d say that I’m a pretty patient fellow. Indeed, I am passionate and purposeful and most of the time pretty intense. But there is one sure-fire way to agitate, annoy and downright make me mad…show me disrespect. I can take the banter and sarcasm and childish annoyances pretty well – not always, but pretty well. But the minute it turns to disrespect, it’s like a match is thrown onto a pile of wood doused in gasoline. I’m enraged. I lose it. And you’d better watch out. What is that? Do you experience that as well?
In the Scriptures, the terms “love” and “respect” seem to have a correlation. They often show up in the same sentence, and yet they have a different flavor. And although I am not doing a complete word study here, in my mind
but respect has to do with value, honor and weight.
Those whom I respect, I value — I value their opinions, I value their position, I value their direction, I value their space. It seems that though all of us long for love, men also have a great and deep need for respect.
I believe that at the core of every man (again, women have this as well, though slightly different and the topic of another conversation) is the hunger for respect. We want others to respect us. We long for it. Why? Because it indicates that we are people of value. Yes, we want to be loved. But there is something intrinsically connected to the heart of manhood that longs to be seen as valuable, honorable and weighty — not necessarily important, but valued. We want to know that our existence makes a difference, and that others find something in us that is inherently good. It is the issue in movies and stories that is the 100% guarantee tear-jerker for men. Show him a story about a man who is deeply loved, and he thinks that’s great. Show him a story about a man who is respected and honored by others (especially by other men), and he’s a mound of emotion. Think about it. Isn’t this true?
I begin to wonder what men do in order to gain the respect of others. What do I do? If I’m honest, I angle and finagle and press my way into situations where I will be noticed, seen as wise or helpful or even powerful. Even as I write these blog entries (again, if I’m honest), I have a place in my heart that wants respect from my readers. I don’t want readers to love me…I want you to respect me. I’m sure that it permeates most of my (and yours?) existence.
I haven’t gotten to the bottom of this. I just believe it’s true. I’d love to know your experience. In no way am I saying that the hunger for respect is bad. God doesn’t create bad desires. But I see it driving so many men that I begin to wonder what is at its core. What are the fears? What are the hopes? What happens to the soul of a man when he is not respected?
THE HUNGRY MAN SERIES
Other posts in the “Hungry Man” series: