Practicing respect gets easier once we acknowledge that everyone has been created in the image and likeness of God, AND once we acknowledge that our neighbor has the right to make his/her own choices, even when we personally would not make the same choice. That’s what free will is all about. If God can respect our own individual free will, and allow each of us to make, what may seem to others to be, stupid or erroneous mistakes, then we must respect the choices of others. It all goes back to these common phrases that we have all heard before, but warrant repeating:
“If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all.”
“Treat others as you would like to be treated.”
Remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matt 7:12)
Easier said than done, right? When you have things like bigotry, domestic violence and moral degradation permeating our society, such cancers require some serious medicine to eradicate. Some problems are bigger than what we can handle. Yet, that doesn’t mean that we should toss up our hands and not take part in the solution – the medicine. Remember, embracing and practicing respect all starts with you and me.
Practicing Respect Begins Here
Begin with prayer. Acknowledge to God that you know your relationships could be better. Request His assistance. Request the virtue of respect. Then, when situations try your patience and/or good judgment, or you see people making what you believe to be a stupid or erroneous choice, ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?” Jesus would act with compassion, love and respect. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt 7:12).
Address bigotry, domestic violence and moral degradation by using respectful language. Share the teachings of the faith with compassion and kindness; rather than through the use of a sanctimonious attitude that belies respect. You will be practicing respect with the ability to change the world!
Specifically, regarding domestic violence, here’s a place where you can concretely start practicing respect. If you, or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, visit this website. It has information and phone numbers (within the United States and internationally), to call for assistance. Don’t delay – call today!