A Little R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
“Don’t forget that when you leave this house you are representing the Criddell family.” I remember hearing this all the time when I was little. It was not a threat for punishment nor was it a prideful reminder of how awesome our family was. This was a call to kindness, striving for excellence, confidence, combed hair, ironed clothes and good behavior. Being a Criddell in our house meant exhibiting nothing less outside of our house. When my siblings or I misbehaved my parents would say, “You must have momentarily forgotten yourself today.”
“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” I Peter 2:1-3
I worked as a chaplain in a girl’s residence hall at a Baptist university for 3 years. Young women would come knock on my door at every hour of the day and night for help with homework, prayer or to look at new outfits. I watched them go through what a process many psychologists call individuation. This process involves young adults “trying on” various identities as they become who they will become. In this case the dressing rooms are not private and there are no limits on what you can change into.
To the outsider, the parent, the young sibling, or firm-in-their-ways onlooker, this process seems messy. Often, new identities would lead my students to poor decisions. I saw some young girls slowly stop attending weekly Bible studies to pursue unhealthy relationships, parties, or just because it wasn’t cool. I would remember my parents words, thinking these young women must have “forgotten themselves,” today. I wasn’t calling these young adults to be Criddells, nor was I calling them to represent me and their residence hall when they were out and about. My hope was that they would recognize their calling as children of God and be representatives of that calling.
Sometimes trying on that calling takes more time than one can fit into young adulthood. The longer I listened closely to my parent’s endless childhood tales, mistakes and journeys, the more I heeded their instruction and soaked in their love (even when embarrassing) the more I grew in respect of the Criddell name I bore. After many years I did not need reminding when I left the house. I knew exactly who I was. I was proud and determined to represent the Criddells well. Likewise, when we put aside childhood behaviors and pay attention to the instruction of the Word, we too will grow in our respect of the rich salvation we have been given and become representatives God can be proud to call his own.
Discussion question: If you reflect back on just the past year of your life can you say that you have grown in respect to your salvation? In what specific ways have you grown? What ways have you allowed the Word of God to correct, challenge and/or change you?
See more devotions from Monique and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself, at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.