"If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life." -Luke 9:23-24
Demanding things never works. Even "demanding respect"...it just doesn't work. You have to earn it...then it will just come naturally for people to respect you. Even demanding things of my own children...yes, they must obey, but if there is no real relationship there, even if they obey, it's not willingly or with a soft heart. We want them to obey because they love us. Therefore, they are learning the whole "if you love Me, you will obey my commands" thing.
A friend of mine and I were talking a while back. She travels with her husband full time. She works with people non-stop and she was talking about how she used to be firm with people and "demand her rights." She's learned through the years though...it works so much better to be nice...out of the ordinary nice...supernatural nice (that is possible with supernatural God working through you). She said the more difficult they are, the nicer she gets. "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger." -Proverbs 15:1.
I started learning this lesson when I married Joel. I was always of the "have it your way" Burger King mentality. You know, the customer is always right. I was firm and bold and determined. I would fight to the end. Mind you, these are all good qualities when used in the right way. But, when Luke 9 isn't heeded, bad things are sure to come. Thankfully Joel was patient with me, prayed for me, loved me. He always had a gentle answer, and God's Word is true...it always turned away wrath. He didn't fight with me. With disagreements, I had only ever known anger and fighting...if a resolution wasn't reached, silent treatment and pouting (even though, of course it was never called that) would soon follow, possibly even for days. That was just the norm. It didn't work that way with Joel. I began to learn his way. I'm still growing in that. Man, it's so much more peaceful that way.
We need to give up...give up our rights, give up our control, give up our offendable spirits (my uncle recently prayed that we would not be offendable...I've adopted that prayer). Stop clinging to your rights people. Enough is enough. "There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death." -Proverbs 14:12 Man, we need to know God's Word, His laws, His principles, His character (so that we can model it)..KNOW the Word. We don't want to be on the path that seems right. We want to be on the path that is right. If we stay on the path that just seems right, death will surely come. I've seen death (in many ways) come to someone I know...they are clinging to their rights and are losing out bigtime. Sadly, they aren't the only one affected.