Treat People with Respect

Is that too much to ask? Is that a hard thing to do?


Why do we find it hard to respect people? I've heard tons of responses:

"They were rude to me..."
"They got my order wrong..."
"They don't now what they're doing..."
"They don't understand what I've been through (or accomplished)..."

The responses are endless...

Ultimately, though, the problem is self.

"How DARE you, Derek! The problem is obviously the other person."

I disagree.


Examine Yourself

Let's examine those responses above...

"They were rude to me.
"They got my order wrong."
"They don't know what they're doing...(but I do)"
"They don't understand what I've been through (or accomplished)..."

We put the focus on ourselves. And honestly, that's pretty natural, isn't it? We're primarily concerned with ourselves. Our well-being. Our state of mind. Besides the few who seem to be naturally wired to think about others, most of us are totally self-centered.

Ouch. I know it hurts. It's okay, put a band-aid on it. We'll get through this together.

The Other Side of Me

We don't respect people because we're self centered and offended that people don't do or say things the way we'd want them to. We're so consumed with ourselves that we can't possibly get out of our own heads and think about what's going on with the other person.

Maybe they've been in a fight with a loved one and are having a hard time processing through their emotions, and you just happened to be in their line of fire that day.

What if someone is struggling in their job and they'd really like to ask for help, but, in order to make it seem like they actually know what they're doing (newsflash...most of us DON’T), they fumble through...and you're standing in the distance shaking your head, when you could offer some help. SMH.

I think we like when people fail. Something about it makes us feel better. Part of it is because we put ourselves in the hero seat. Think of every movie you've ever seen. You always imagine yourself as the protagonist, never the sidekick or enemy. In real life, we do the same thing. WE should be the ones succeeding, intervening, helping, getting the promotion, or whatever.

Why is that relevant?

Well, because when we live our lives as the hero of our story, we're offended when someone acts outside of the narrative we think they should be acting.

"How dare they treat me this way. What makes her think she can treat me this way? He doesn't deserve my respect." And on and on it goes...

We've heard it said that respect is earned, not given.

I wholeheartedly disagree.

I believe everyone is worthy of respect. Everyone.

Respect and Trust

As a person of faith, it would be completely against my beliefs and way of thinking to not respect people. I can't do it, not with a clear conscience anyway.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm NOT saying that everyone is trustworthy. Trust is a different attribute. Not everyone is trustworthy (yet). But everyone is worth respect. As image-bearers of the Creator, everyone deserves respect.

So the next time that teenager at the drive-through or your over-tired under-paid waiter doesn't treat you the way you deserve to be treated, choose instead to treat them the way they deserve to be treated - with respect.

What’s your take on respect? Leave a comment below. I’d love to know your thoughts.