Monthly Archives: November 2016

An Endangered Virtue–Respect for One Another

For any community to function there must be rules. Yes. Rules. We like to think we can function without them but unfortunately it seems to me the ‘rule of respecting one another’ is no longer, if it ever was, humans’ default in challenging relationship situations.

While at the Venice, Florida YMCA today I saw this photo. 


What it said to me was that for our ‘Y’ to work exceptionally, we must all own these 8 rules.

As I read these I thought these would have been good for recent presidential election.

In a sermon a few weeks ago pastor Bill Hybels highlighted 10 rules he wanted to see restored in his community and our world. 

In their community 1000s of people are engaging over these ’10 rules’ for treating each other with respect.

1. See People As Image-Bearers.

Every person who crosses your path bears the image of God. We have never locked eyes with someone for whom this is not true. All people matter to God. Furthermore, there is no person on earth for whom Christ didn’t die.

2. Differ without Demonizing.

Respectful people learn how to hold differences well. We must train ourselves to respect others while disagreeing rather than devaluing, diminishing, or demonizing them.

3. Believe the Best.

It is simple to judge people before ever meeting them. However, we are taught in 1 Corinthians 13:7, among other things, to believe the best of everyone. This requires an open mind and one without cynicism.

4. Don’t Interrupt or Dominate.

Respectful people genuinely want to hear the opinions and feelings of others and demonstrate this by listening rather than controlling the conversation. They are curious to know how others think so they might be sharpened themselves.

5. No Incendiary Words.

Those who show respect are very careful in choosing their words. Proverbs 15:1 states: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words make tempers flare.” It is the wise and respectful person who takes stock and decides to use words that will adequately reflect who they want to be. Ephesians 4:29 reminds us: “Let no unwholesome words come out of your mouth but only words that build up others.” Respectful people only use words that build up others, even when writing in the context of social media where it may be easy to be careless with words.

6. Courteous to Everyone.

Respectful people are kind and inordinately courteous to others. They demonstrate kindness in seemingly little ways like opening doors for others and noticing people that might otherwise be overlooked.

7. No Stereotyping.

A stereotype diminishes the value of a person by categorizing them, rather than valuing their God-given uniqueness. Learning to respect others means to absolutely refuse to stereotype a person or people group.

8.Apologize Quickly.
When we have wronged another person, the right thing to do is to apologize. Respect is demonstrated when we apologize quickly because we recognize the other person, as a fellow image-bearer that we have slighted or harmed.

9. Form Opinions Carefully.

Respectful people practice the discipline of considering many viewpoints as they form opinions. They also prayerfully revisit an issue and consider changing their mind when new information becomes available.

10.Prompt and Faithful.

Those who respect others show up on time and do what they say they’re going to do. If someone is late, the message given to others is: I am more important than you. Honoring others’ time and following through with what you promised to do is a tangible way of respecting others.

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Blessing One Another On US Election Day 2016

While in Venice, Florida for some work and vacation I, like many others, have become weary, even sick at the way people have ripped each other apart on various social media platforms, and to see the way the presidential candidates have not been able to rise above their inane accusations against one another, is also disheartening.
Can you imagine if Hillary and the Donald and all their surrogates and ‘handlers’ could be in a room together, graciously disagree, but still offer each other a blessing–to speak well of each other for only a moment.

As the adage says, speed of the leader, speed of the team.

I have relatives I am at odds with because of my inability and their inability to be gracious in our disagreement.

I need this soul medicine of blessing more than anybody. Our proclivity to insist on our rightness creates friction, factions, grudges and an overall incivility.

So how do we give a non religious but necessary blessing as a way of life? Listen to Fr Henri.

 To bless means to say good things. We have to bless one another constantly. Parents need to bless their children, children their parents, husbands their wives, wives their husbands, friends their friends. In our society, so full of curses, we must fill each place we enter with our blessings. We forget so quickly that we are God’s beloved children and allow the many curses of our world to darken our hearts. Therefore we have to be reminded of our belovedness and remind others of theirs. Whether the blessing is given in words or with gestures, in a solemn or an informal way, our lives need to be blessed lives.

Who needs your blessing today?

Bless them with words, thoughts or deeds, or all of the preceding before the day is done.