A Matter of Respect…

If you know me or have been around me for any length of time, you know right away that I am a die hard Alabama fan. I bleed Crimson and White 365 days of the year. If its not football season, its recruiting season, or spring practice, and then fall begins. I have checked the countdown to college football more times this year than I will admit. I love Alabama football. I am bringing up the boys high with high fives and roll tides every day.
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That being said, being an Alabama fan also makes you an anti fan of the Auburn Tigers. It is without a doubt the greatest rivalry in collegiate sports, but especially football. I have said it many times before that my 2 favorite teams are Alabama and whoever is playing Auburn. If Auburn were playing Russia, I would be on the Russian sidelines waving my communist flag. I am that passionate about not liking Auburn. It’s not a violent hate, but an extreme dislike. I wish nothing bad upon them except to lose every game and not make the post season,
but, I do it with respect.
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At my job, I do a lot of engineering and design (hard to believe for someone who is not a fan of math either and needed “help” passing physics. You know who you are, thank you!). For what I do, Auburn is a great school. It is an engineering and technology school also known for its agricultural and veterinary programs. It is also known to be a great college football town with a lot of great traditions. After every Auburn win, the trees at Toomer’s corner are covered with toilet paper to celebrate their win. It’s a great tradition. It’s a great school. I have never once said anything negative about any of the programs at Auburn, except for the football program. I talk smack and tell jokes about Auburn just like any other Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida…etc. fan does especially as the football season gets closer, (how do you keep the Auburn Tigers out of your yard…..you put up goal posts!)
but, I do it with respect.
Respect is not something that has been in the news a lot lately. There has been more disrespect for others than ever before that I can remember in my lifetime. Police officers are being disrespected because of the actions of a few. Individuals are being disrespected because of the color of their skin. Political supporters are being disrespected because of the actions and words of their party’s candidate. People are dying daily because of the disrespect of others.
Enough.
Steph and I are trying our best every day to teach the boys respect. I remind them to hold the door for women, not just their mom. I show them the respect that I have for officers, EMS workers, military soldiers and people who serve the public, by shaking hands and thanking them for their service. I respect their sacrifices. These people miss a lot of holidays with their families because of their service to our communities. They miss a lot of important events with their families to help protect and serve us. They spend months, even years away from their loved ones serving in foreign countries to protect our freedoms.
And others think that they have the right to play judge and jury and gun them down in our streets.
Enough.
We as a nation, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, European, Native American, have lost, forgotten, given up, or never been told about and shown, the greatest commands that would give us hope and heal our land…..

Matthew 22:36-40New International Version (NIV)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
 

John 13:34-35New International Version (NIV)

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
 
There it is, plain and simple. We are to love others, as Christ loved us. Period. End of discussion. Problem solved as “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these”. That means, take care of loving others, and the rest will take care of itself. If the person who gunned down the five officers in Dallas just a few weeks ago, had love for those officers would he have done what he did? If the officers had been able to show love to the individuals that they were forced to defend themselves against, would those situations have ended differently?
I can’t speak for anyone but myself. I know in my heart that if we raise our sons to be the men that my father, my grandfathers, my uncles and the Godly men that have been put in my path tried to raise me as, I know they will be great men who respect and love others the way that Christ loves them. That is all that Stephanie and I want for them. We want them to be what ever they want to be but be men of God, men of Faith, men who will one day raise their children to pray and love others as we are teaching them to pray and love and their children’s children will do the same. Love for others has to start in the homes of parents, not at a political rally or in a court room.
I close this post with a confession. As I said earlier, I am a huge Bama fan. I have been through Tuscaloosa but only to the campus once. One day, I hope to go to back there and spend a couple of days just soaking it in.
This week, I had what you would call the opposite opportunity. I went to the Auburn campus. I drove right through the middle of Toomer’s corner where just a few years ago, another Alabama fan poisoned the trees there as a show of complete disrespect. New trees have been planted and Toomer’s corner will one day be covered with toilet paper after Auburn wins a football game (not too soon I hope).  I drove right past the sign, took pictures and turned around to head home. I have been to the land of the enemy. I didn’t leave a mark or put a Bama sticker on the Auburn University sign, or even get out of the truck for fear I would burst into hypocritical flames, but I went there…
as a matter of respect.
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Dear God, thank You for the opportunity that we have to pour into the lives of our sons. Protect them in a world that has forgotten how to love others as You have loved us. Help us to raise warriors who will one day raise warriors of their own. Help our boys and the children of this generation to seek You first, and to love others as You love them.
Keith