Welcome to my first ever series! In brief, this series is about learning how to practically love the people around us. If you want more details about this series, check out my previous introductory post here.
This week we’re going to focus on practically loving others by showing respect. I wasn’t going to start with respect simply because it seems so basic. We learned about respect way back in the beginning in elementary school and as children learning how to properly interact with adults. So I figured it could be a little too simplistic and foundational as a start…but then I thought about that word I just used; foundational. Foundations are things we build on. You wouldn’t build a house without first making sure it had a strong foundation, why? Because it wouldn’t stand. We can’t talk about love without talking about respect. It’s just that simple.
Over time we have decided that we get to determine whether another person is worthy of respect. We make them earn it from us. We create criteria for respect and measure people against it. Some of that criteria to earning respect is quite extensive and if we’re being honest, most of us wouldn’t pass our own test. We are quick to talk down to others when we feel irritated by them and we are quick to react and quick to say hurtful things because in that moment our feelings are more important than theirs. Why do we do this? Because when it comes down to it, we don’t value people as we should. We don’t respect them.
Take a look at these questions and answer them for yourself
- How often do you thank others when they do things for you? This includes service workers, janitorial staff, doctors and nurses, your parents, Über/cab/bus drivers, teachers and professors, delivery drivers and anyone else.
- Do you request things from people politely, or do you demand/expect them?
- How often do you say ‘Please’?
- When is the last time you have encouraged someone just because?
- Do you really listen when people speak to you, or do you listen so that you can respond?
- Do you respect the boundaries others have set for themselves?
- Do you demand the last word in conversations or disagreements?
- Do you apologize easily?
These are just a few self-reflective questions for you to ask yourself. We all need to be reminded of how to be respectful towards others. If you didn’t like your answers to some of those questions I have good news for you. You are capable of change. It is important that we remember that we we’re not worthy of Jesus’ love for us. We didn’t deserve him putting our life over his own. We didn’t deserve the way he valued us. We still don’t, therefore, how can we compare ourselves to others and think for a moment that we are worthy and they are not? I am not faultless in this either. I still have tons (and I mean TONS) of work to do in this area and many other areas that we will discuss.
So, what do we do? Where do we go from here? For me, I’m going to take a minute to pray and ask God to show me the areas in my life where I can be more respectful of people around me. I want to be able to see those areas and change them. It’s not going to be the easiest task, but it will be an important one. I want to be seen as someone who shows love to others, regardless of their circumstances, this is a good place to start.
Thanks for reading along. See you next time!