I remember one church where someone told me from the very beginning: “Around here, you have to earn people’s respect. They don’t just give it to you.”
Sounded fine. But I came to find out that it meant they didn’t feel obligated to be considerate or communicative or even friendly.
On the one hand, I’m not looking for special treatment and I understand that people have to get to know me before they can trust me. On the other hand, the older I get the less I feel the need to prove myself to anyone.
After a year or so of the cold treatment, the guy told me again, “Remember, you have to earn our respect.”
“Your respect,” I said, “is not worth the effort.”
I confess it was rather blunt of me to say but I couldn’t help it. A short time later, I respectfully moved on to a new place.
“If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” (Mt 10:13-14, NIV).