I suppose it may not a word that immediately gets your attention. Perhaps it doesn’t have much buzz or flair.
Yet the importance of showing another respect is huge.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.
- A young husband is condescending to his wife, making her feel as if she is less intelligent than he is.
- A teenager has a confrontation with his dad. He tells his dad to “shut up” and walks away. Thirty minutes earlier the boy was in a Wednesday evening Bible class.
- A young woman is disrespectful to her mother-in-law, speaking to her in way that is demeaning and hurtful.
- A man disrespects his wife, flirting with women at the office. One woman at the office remarks, “You mean he’s married?”
- A minister degrades the elders to others in the congregation and then kisses up to them in an elders meeting. Disrespect.
- An older man in the church abruptly approaches a young minister and says something insulting and crude in front of a visitor.
I am not suggesting that people needed to be “nicer.”
The problem runs far deeper than this. According to Jesus, the two greatest commandments are “Love God” and “Love others.” When I speak to another in a way that is disrespectful, I am communicating that I really don’t value that person. When I speak in a way that is condescending toward someone, I am addressing them in a way that is small and disrespectful. Yet, some think that if another person is rude or argumentative towards them, their action gives one the right to reciprocate the behavior.
Is this the way of Jesus?