“Respect should be earned” is a phrase that is used all the time. This implies that we need to approach people with care. That we first need to expect the worst from them until they prove us wrong and they gain our respect!
The way I see it is that we need to approach every person with respect and give them the benefit of the doubt. But we live in such a judgemental society, that we immediately disrespect someone who doesn’t fit in with our perception of normal. We look down on people because of their beliefs, their ethnicity and the way they look. Without even getting to know someone, we choose to disrespect them. Just maybe, that is why the world isn’t too interested in Christianity and the church. We are too busy telling the world what we don’t stand for, instead of showing them what we do stand for – LOVE!
Now don’t get me wrong! I am not saying that you must lose your identity that is found in Christ. “We don’t change to suit the world… we love to show the world the true identity of Christ.” And that starts by respecting those who might not fit our mould. That starts by not generalising and stereotyping. Because when we do that, we are forgetting where Jesus found each one of us. In a sinful mess where we never fitted the mould that heaven requires. But He loved us anyway. He placed so much value in us, in our messed up state, that He died so that we might fit the righteous mould of heaven. And when we remember that amazing grace that He showed us when we were lost, we will stop approaching people with bias.
So, let’s give people respect before they earn it. Let’s stop judging a book by it’s cover but instead, let’s choose to get to know the entire story by reading the pages of their lives!
Have an awesome day!