Find out what it means to me
– Otis Redding and Anquette Corte Allen
If we could put into one word that thing that is missing the most in the marketplace today, it would be found, in the words of Aretha Franklin, in that magical word spelled R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
We live today in the most polarized society in memory, and it seems to be getting worse, not better. It’s almost impossible to hold to a nuanced point of view. When the truth is in a gray area, and the only options are black or white, it makes it hard to even engage in conversation with someone.
What will set us apart as Christians and hopefully open a way for the gospel, is to be a people who respect everyone’s right to be who they are and believe what they believe. If we want anyone to pay attention to what we believe, we must first seek to understand and respect what they believe. Children, respect your parents. Parents, respect your children. Husbands, respect your wives, and wives, respect your husbands.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this where you live, but the kids in our neighborhood show an appalling lack of respect for adults, private property, and in some cases each other. We’re not teaching our kids respect, or if we are, they aren’t getting it.
The most popular shows on television seem to be the reality shows that tear people down. This is simply the climate that we are in today. In politics, we tear down the opposing point of view; we demonize the other party.
Of course we will always be in conflict; conflict is inevitable in life, but conflict need not encroach upon the respect of others, and the solutions we are seeking to our conflicts must come by way of respect for the other person and point of view. If you are unsure of how to treat someone who disagrees with you, start with respect. If you are unsure how to treat even someone in your own family, start with respect. Someone at work you don’t get along with? A little respect goes a long way toward building and strengthening any relationship.
“Just a little bit…” sings Aretha, “Just a little bit…” A little bit is better than none at all.
May we be known in the marketplace as those who hold a high level of esteem for others.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15,16)