A popular Christian blogger, Matt Walsh, recently wrote an article called "Your Husband Doesn't Have to Earn Your Respect" and set off a firestorm of nearly 2,000 comments so far. The irony is that so many, while claiming to promote respect, expressed their viewpoints with words of contempt for the opinions and experiences of others. Sarcasm, loaded language, subtle put downs, unveiled ad hominem attacks, insinuations, and presumption of motives all detracted from the conversation. I prefer to be civil and cordial.
I didn't say this in my comments on Walsh's blog post, but we should obviously have proper respect for position as well: spouse, parent, pastor, teacher, employer, government official, the elderly, those with whom we have business contracts, etc. However, this is what we focus on when we think of respecting others, not what we can just assume as our absolute right when we are in those positions ourselves. As a mother, I want my children to respect me. As a teacher, I want my students to respect me. There is nothing wrong with that, and I should be regularly encouraging them in that healthy habit. After all, part of my job is keeping order in the home and classroom. However, this is not for my own ego, but for their good, packing their "life toolbox" with skills for their success, both now and in the future. If I expect a more meaningful personal (rather than positional) respect from them, I should try to live up to it. That starts with mutual respect. The one who leads should be the one who serves. Frankly, that has been a paradigm shift for me in recent years, and I still have a long way to go in both giving and receiving respect. So really, you could say that I am writing to myself most of all.
There is so much more I could say. I could think of numerous Scripture verses, Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and even links to other web sites. In the interest of time, however, I'll leave you with these related posts from this blog instead...
- Manifesto of Liberty and Responsibility in Christian Families
- Dignity, Decisions, and Liberty of Conscience
- King Jesus vs. Yertle the Turtle
- Honesty, Respect, Leadership, and Academic Success
- Vision Forum and Friends: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus