In 1967, American vocalist Aretha Franklin topped the charts with her hit single “Respect.” The song became an inspirational anthem for the civil rights movement and for others who demanded to be treated with respect.
Long before Aretha’s hit record, Queen Vashti topped the Persian charts with her own version of “Respect.” The book of Esther begins with King Ahasuerus hosting a great celebration. In addition to displaying his wealth and power, he also wanted to showcase his wife’s beauty. So he commanded that Queen Vashti be brought before him and his guests.
If she obeyed, she would have allowed the king to degrade and dis-respect her. If she refused, she risked losing her life. She refused. What courage! Vashti didn’t want to compromise her character by being reduced to a piece of property. Her desire for respect led to her banishment. We have no record that Vashti feared the Lord. But her courage shows that she understood the God-given dignity accorded to every human being.
God created us in His image and crowned us with glory and honor, having made us “a little lower than the angels” (Ps. 8:5). Out of love and reverence for Him, let us treat ourselves and others with honor, dignity, and respect.
Man's crowning glory lies in this:
God stamped on him His image rare;
No other creatures have that gift,
Nor living things with man compare. —D. De Haan
Even the most difficult people we know bear the image of God.