Blech. Yeah, I said it. Blech! No. Not “Blech” to Aretha. How dare I? No, I feel “blech” when “Respect” comes to mind. Not for what it means. After all respect is: Valuing and regarding one another highly; treating one another as important; honoring one another. (Romans 12:10). What is wrong with that? Nothing. However is there an emotional need that just gets used in popular culture and today’s society more than respect? Is there no more “hot button” topic than respect? I don’t think so.
To a degree, I guess I don’t have any problem at all with talking about respect. It’s the hyper sensitivity to being “disrespected” that I have found to be quite tiresome. In no way shape or form do I want to diminish ones need for respect. It is the same as any other emotional/relational need in that we all have some level of it and it varies widely from person to person. If you have a high need for it then it is very important to you.
Perhaps the reason why respect is such an issue is the fact that our world/society/culture lends if not forces itself in the exact opposite direction. Instead of valuing and regarding one another highly we are told to value ourselves above all else. Instead of treating one another as important we seek fame and to distinguish ourselves as important. Lastly, rather than honoring one another, disparaging others in the hope of pumping ourselves up, rules the day. I could give example after example but I don’t need to. You’ve just had those images flood your mind as you read this.
I will give one example of one going the complete opposite of our world today. This came to mind as I wrote the last paragraph and I simply must include it. It comes from the Philippians 2 in the New Testament of the Bible and is a description of Jesus (mind you, I am more than aware that a large number of you are not Christians who read this. Out of respect for me I would ask that you would read the following for at least the context with which it is referenced and with the equity I have built up by respecting differing points of view in my writings). It reads:
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
And what was the result? Read on…
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Thus, it also explains why so many who seek respect by trying to demand it, by diminishing others, by promoting and boasting of themselves…never find it and don’t have that need ever met. “Well” the cynic says, “that’s easy for Him. He was God after all, as you say, so He can do anything.” Yet, I believe that would make it all the harder for Him to be so continually “disrespected.” Further, He became a man (as Jesus) to show us that it CAN be done. None of us could begin to boast about ourselves in comparison to Him. Yet, he didn’t boast at all. He was humble.
The best thing you can do…again, in your closest of relationships, is to communicate your need for respect in an open/honest/and vulnerable way. Try to think of ways that you can have that need met. If you are being continually disrespected at work there may be very little you can do about it. However, if those at home are aware of this and are continually lifting you up, meeting that need, you may survive the day. If, on the other hand, you just keep it to yourself, you will probably just keep blowing up at everything seeing at as a form of “disrespect.”
I once gave an emotional needs survey/checklist/test/assessment to my girls volleyball team. Even the quietest most unassuming girl had a higher than average level of respect. It is quite prevalent in our world today. Perhaps if you just do your best to respect those in your world, together we can begin to make it a better place to live.