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I hate drunkenness. It makes people lower their inhibitions. People always assume lack of inhibitions is the true self, but the true self actually involves having inhibitions. If you would do it while drunk, but not while sober, you are exhibiting a form of demonic possession. You have allowed yourself to be controlled by something other than your consciousness, conscience, and spirit. They call it wine and spirits for a reason. This was going through my mind as I entered into the home of a female coworker after a night out at the bar.

It was supposed to be a standard, after-work drinking session, but women and their pride. We, my male coworker and I, had higher tolerances than the two women. The women still wanted to try and keep up with us. As the number of drinks kept rising, the women found themselves losing control. By night’s end, the men were babysitting the women.

Despite, we made it to the more inebriated one’s apartment, which they carpooled from, with only one stop involving her vomiting on the curb. Now, all we had to do was sober one up while making sure the other made it to her bed. All I had to do was walk her inside, tuck her in, and leave. However, she had other plans.

She hadn’t had me over to her apartment before, so I had to receive the tour. I was introduced to a peach cat tree, a tan leather couch filled with cat hair, a brown TV stand with a sizable TV, a dining room with a wooden table for two smaller people, and a kitchen with little room for maneuvering.

When she made it to the bathroom, she threw up again. It wasn’t like I hadn’t been in her position before, so I wasn’t offended or surprised. What surprised me was the random need to brush her teeth afterward. Most drunk people are ready to sleep once they make it home. I didn’t interpret her actions to mean that she was ready to do something else.

I escorted her to her bedroom. I sat her down, hoping she’d roll over and snuggle beneath the covers to go to sleep. Instead, she looked up at me, looked down at my pants, and reached for my belt buckle to take my pants off. Quickly, I stopped her. She was drunk. It would be highly inappropriate to accept this move as her consent, especially in her current state.

She wasn’t trying to take no for an answer. I rolled her over onto her stomach. She wrestled with me. I tried to pin her under her blanket. She tried to grab me in sensitive areas. Even when I simply laid my heavier body onto her, to keep her from moving and tire her out, she tried to gyrate into my pelvis.

I knew letting her have her way in this moment wasn’t right, no matter how much I wanted to. I needed her to go to sleep for the both of our good. That’s when I obtained an epiphany. I told her to wait while I used the restroom. Then, I proceeded to wait in the restroom, with the door locked, until it sounded as if she was asleep. I spent fifteen minutes in that bathroom, sitting fully clothed on the toilet seat cover, looking at my phone. When I came out of the restroom, she had fallen asleep, and I was able to leave.

Many would read this story and wonder why I didn’t have sex with a woman who clearly wanted to have sex with me. I don’t know enough men who would’ve refused her advances, considering the relationship we had leading up to that night. Oftentimes, we would tease each other with racy text messages. The underlying desire was certainly there. I, however, couldn’t take advantage. Not while she was inebriated. It was hard to do it even when we were sober, and I was sober often[1].

My actions in this tale, and several others, oftentimes baffle my friends. They don’t understand how I can refuse sex, even when I really would enjoy the moment, and we are both consenting adults. It’s not like I hadn’t done so before. I’m not a virgin. But that’s the thing about the Holy Spirit. He always gives you an option. Most times, I take His advice.

As a Christian who is intentional about obeying the commandments of God[2], it is hard for me to ignore 1st Corinthians 6:9-11[3]. It is hard for me to know that I am intentionally rejecting the Kingdom of God for, at best, an hour or two of pleasure. An eternity wiped away by a measly hour makes no sense. Forget what society says, forget what people around you say, and forget how you feel. The Lord has never been wrong. He wasn’t wrong back then, and things haven’t changed now.

More than some commandments in a Holy Bible, my relationship with God deserves greater respect. My closeness to the Heavenly Father does not need to be recklessly undermined by sex with a woman whose relationship with me will not span the lifetime God has given me. I don’t want to make God some forgiveness mechanism that I turn on once I feel guilt. I want to show respect – reverence, if you will – and maintain as much purity as I can for Him.

Gone are the days I did things out of fear of Hell or hope of Heaven. If I am a friend of God, as Israel Houghton and New Breed said[4], and He calls me friend, then I need my “Yes” to be yes, and my “No” to be no[5]. When I said I gave my life to Christ, I need to mean that. When I say I want to be more like Him, I need to mean that. I have to be intentional with every moment, every relationship, and every opportunity. I don’t live the life I live for glory or salvation. I live this life because I made a great friend in God, one like the Winans used to sing about[6], and I can’t ignore that knowledge of Him.

Every time I sin now, I imagine how He must feel. Is He angry this time? Is He sad? Is He disappointed in me? Is He jealous? Does He understand? Is He wanting to punish, or ready to forgive? Why don’t I know the answer when I ask those questions? What kind of friend am I? Do I know Him as well as I think I do? Can I say I know Him when I am so easily convinced to betray Him with my lustful desires? I ask myself these questions because, out of respect, I need to consider Him.

It is also my respect for Him that causes me to respect His creations. Whether we admit it or not, every single human being on this earth is a masterpiece. Every organism and living thing are the masterful work of God. Most of you would burn down any organization that threatened America, President Trump, former President Obama, your mom or dad, or Beyoncé. How much harder should I go for the God, Jesus Christ, that allowed such people to exist and become great in your eyes?

When you go harder for Christ, you are often reminded of how hard God goes for people. My mother taught me that treating a woman is best learned by reading how Christ interacted with women in His life. You see the naked adulteress[7], the woman at the well[8], the lady with the jar of perfume[9], the woman who only touched the hem of His garment[10], Mary[11], Mary Magdalene[12], and so many more. How is it that such great examples have been overlooked by so many men, including the ones in the church?

It has never been okay for us, especially men, to allow ourselves to disrespect each other in any fashion. As I did with my former coworker, we must grow to respect others more than they respect themselves. People will go as far as to make themselves sex slaves just to make ends meet. We must stop accepting less for others just because they’ll accept less for themselves. Elevate each other, and respect each other.

As Paul wrote, ““All things are lawful,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.” (1st Corinthians 10:23; 6:12). As Jesus said, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12). Christians have no excuse when it comes to how we treat and respect each other. One of the earliest commandments in the Law of Moses states, “Honor your mother and father” (Exodus 20:12). Respect and reverence should be engrained into our character.

How can you treat one whom God loves any less than He treats them? How can you puff yourself up and risk your eternity with Jesus over some short-term feeling of power over His beloved? You are not greater because you say and feel you are. Show respect for the God you say you love and respect His people and the people He loves.

I could throw scriptures at you all day, but what would that benefit someone who believes the words to be just that: words? To you who have no respect for the very words God instilled into His writers, I ask, what benefit do you receive by disrespecting someone? What good is demeaning and devaluing someone else? Haven’t greater persons been humbled? Haven’t stronger people been utterly smacked upside the head? Haven’t smarter people been stupefied? Should you forget your shortcomings in the presence of someone who you think is worse than you? Most people don’t even realize they are only one accident, misstep, or misspeak from becoming the very people they mock and disrespect.

We have all been ignorant of our own worth. Now, we need to act like we understand that. If you see someone who is where you were, lift them up, don’t judge them. If you see someone doing a thing you could never do, lift them up, don’t belittle them. It is easy to look at someone else and think lesser of them. If you really want to impress someone, lift that person you have devalued to a point where you don’t devalue them anymore. Impress me, and change your perspective.

As easy as it is to say, “It couldn’t be me,” we need to realize that there are some who think, “That’s always going to be me.” There are, seemingly, as many falsely humble people as there are arrogant people. There are people who let you pick on them because they feel that is all they’re worth. There are people who will allow you to torture them because they look in the mirror and see worthlessness. Did you know that it is arrogant to view yourself as less than who you are, or rather, who God made you to be? To devalue one’s self is to enter into a state of pure arrogance, which is why I called it false humility.

To those who view themselves as lesser, you’re lying to yourself. You are unnecessarily belittling yourself and incorrectly justifying elevating others. You’re on par with the person you idolize the most. You need to give yourself the chance to prove it. If you’ve failed, guess what, so did billions of others. That’s not new. Learn from your failures until your attempts become successes. Never doubt your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual self.

To those who would take advantage of low self-esteem people, reevaluate. The only reason you’re so great is because there are many people who think they could never be as good as you. That doesn’t make it true, it just makes you fortunate to have known your value. You could’ve missed out on learning that and been in worse situations than the ones you take advantage of.

The first step to respecting others is to respect yourself. The first step to respecting yourself is to forgive your faults and failures. Your faults and failures are not new, and so you must not make them obstacles in your life. Every other person you come across has failed in some capacity. Let that negativity go. Let those negative thoughts go. They only come from evil places, and unless you want to be evil, and, subsequently, less than your best, you’d better change your perspective to feature more positive thinking.

Take a lesson from Genesis 1-3, but specifically look at Genesis 3:21, “And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.”[13] Understand, God took care of Adam and Eve after Adam and Eve made the first known mistake in history. They did something God told them not to do, and were appropriately punished for it. Then, after the punishment, God took them and cared for them and their children.

Adam and Eve deserved to be disrespected. They deserved to be mocked, chastised, and made into a cautionary tale. They could’ve been labeled the village idiots. Yet, as you can see, God covered them. He did not see them for their mistake. He only saw people that needed to be taken care of and uplifted. Adam and Eve felt ostracized and ashamed for their mistake. They were willing to accept that they were lesser people. Yet, God showed them they still deserved the love of God, who loves better than any man or woman combined.

Everyone deserves respect. The cheater, the drunkard, the jerk, the politician, the hypocrite, the pompous and pious, the sinner, the saint, the weak, the strong, the rich, the poor, the sex worker, the church attender, the thug, the cop, and anyone else you think doesn’t deserve respect. You not liking who they are or what they do does not entitle you to disrespect them. Them asking you to disrespect them does not entitle you to disrespect them. They, again, are the masterful work of God, even in their most anti-Christ moment. You need to watch yourself before you give God a reason to punish you.

Always reevaluate on whether or not you can be more respectful. Odds are, you can. If someone is telling you that you’re being disrespectful, hear them out. If someone doesn’t elevate their view of themselves by your interaction with them, reconsider thinking you’re a respectful person. Show honor, love, and respect to all people, even the ones you feel don’t deserve it. Long before you determined they didn’t deserve respect, God determined they are entitled to His love, and His love is far more valuable than your respect. Know your place. Respect His place.

To anyone I’ve ever disrespected, I apologize. I can admit I am not always on my best behavior. I can admit I’ve missed opportunities to show respect out of ignorance, arrogance, and piety. I try to be mindful of myself, but I’m still learning all of my potential goods and evils. It takes time. Please, offer me grace to learn how to be continuously respectful.

To those of you who are disrespectful to yourselves, watch it. You’re disrespecting an awesome person, and you need to step off so that you can shine. You need to stop downplaying your awesomeness. You need to let yourself be great because that is who you are meant to be. You are created in the likeness of God. Love yourself. After all, there is a God, who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present, who would love to call you His treasure in the face of people who think you are less than trash. Let today be the day you accept the words of God before you accept any foul identity some human tries to put on you, even if that human is you.

Be encouraged,

Dario Augustus

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[1] [2] [3] [4] Israel Houghton & New Breed “Alive in South Africa”. Integrity Music. 2005. [5] [6] The Winans “The Return”. Word Entertainment LLC, A Curb Company. 1990. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]


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