Welcome to my blog! I hope to be a resource to help you in your walk with God. Now more than ever we need to get back to the basic fundamentals of moral living and take a stand for what is right and truthful with God as our ultimate authority. His Word is reliable and preserved and can be trusted, so that is the basis for my advice and teaching. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or topics you would like me to cover. I look forward to sharing what God has placed on my heart. See my website at http://www.dawnfoss.tateauthor.com and http://www.dawnfoss.com/ for books and music I have written that will enrich your life!

Ezekiel 22:30: "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." Let's stand in the gap together!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Primary and Secondary Respect

One of life's basic needs is love. It is a very big need, and comes in many forms. It might be shown in spending time with someone, helping them out, buying them gifts, saying nice things to them, or physical affection.  The Five Love Languages is a great book that explores the various love languages that people have, so you can in essence speak their language.  If what makes them feel loved is buying them gifts, then painting the deck doesn't say, "I love you", for example. Everyone is different, and may have more than one love language, but it's essential to get to know the person you love so that you can best communicate that love to them.

There is also a great book called, Love and Respect.  The basic idea in that book is that women need to be loved, and men need to be respected. When each is doing their job, everyone is happy. However, how can you really show love to someone if you don't treat them with respect? Guys, women need to be treated with respect, too. It's a thing of basic human dignity.

In Sunday School today, I was mentioning to my 1st-6th grade boys and girls about respect. Our lesson was about Adam and Eve, but while one of the students was asking a question, she was interrupted by another student. She harshly condemned him for being rude and interrupting her. However, her words to him were also very rude. It was time for a life lesson right then and there on respect...by both of them.

This comes on the brink of a recent interaction in which I was treated very rudely by a demanding patient. Even while driving on the road, people cut in front of you and speed around you and make gestures that are very rude. People can become very impatient in a very short time, probably as a result of our fast paced society and hectic schedules. But is that an excuse for mistreating someone?

I spoke with my daughters about how we should respect everyone, but as I said it, the phrase "earn your respect" came to mind. That's true - we do lose respect for people, and with good reason. So are we to respect everyone, or do they have to earn it?

What about the "screaming mimi's", as I like to call them, the mothers who scream and yell at their kids across a crowded grocery store?  Or the wife who treats her husband like he's her 5 year old son? Or the husband who verbally (and perhaps even physically) abuses his wife and/or kids?  What about the parent who speaks to the kids in a condescending way, swearing at them or calling them derogatory names? How about the brothers and sisters who treat each other like an enemy with hurting, cutting words that last a lifetime? What about people making fun of the president, boss, teacher or other people in authority? What about kids who talk to their parents as if they were the scum of the earth? Or elderly patients who are treated by the aides like they are a piece of garbage, an annoyance that is wasting their time? Is there an age when it's OK to treat someone poorly, with sarcasm and even hatred, such as someone younger than you or very old? What if they disagree with you? Is it OK to belittle them because they are so "stupid"?

Is the old saying true: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me"? What a false proclamation!

I like to think of it as primary and secondary respect.  Primary respect is what belongs to everyone. It is deserved just because we are human beings made in the image of God. I would extend that to animals, too, because they are alive and have feelings. We have a responsibility to care for this planet, and that includes the animals. People who abuse animals are abusive; yes, even if it is just toward animals. Abusers of animals often will eventually extend that to abusers of humans as well. It's OK to eat animals, but while they are alive they should be treated well, and the way they are killed should be done quickly and as painlessly as possible.

What does primary respect look like? Common courtesy. Using manners such as please and thank you, letting someone go before you, treating them kindly, giving people the benefit of the doubt. Disciplining in a loving manner, and not with excessive force; the punishment should fit the crime. It means not being rude, even when you are speaking to someone who is close to you. It means treating other people's things even better than you would treat your own things. It means sharing and taking turns, obeying those in authority over you, working hard, and having basic character traits when dealing with other people, such as honesty, integrity, and patience. It means being able to have an intelligent conversation with someone, and even if disagreeing with them, still being polite and allowing them to have their turn to speak. It means treating someone weaker than you with greater care...because they're weak! Doesn't that make sense? Don't take advantage of someone because they're weak, but rather defend them, fight for them, come to their aid. This applies to anyone, even unborn babies, who cannot come to their own aid. This applies to people who you see being bullied or manipulated. If they cannot defend themselves, you be the one to step forward and either help them or get help for them. If someone is having an asthma attack, ask them where their inhaler is, and get it for them and tell the teacher. I think you get my idea - treating everyone with basic human kindness.  This is primary respect.

Secondary respect is what you give someone because of something they have done. If they are a hero, or they have accomplished something great, or achieved something, often people will respect them.  It may be a winner, an Olympic champion, a police officer, a parent, a teacher, a pastor - anyone who has earned respect because of the wonderful things they have done.  This kind of respect can be lost. A basketball hero, for example, who harms someone on purpose, or steals will lose their respect by those who once looked up to him or her.  A singer who used to set a good example but then got into drugs and messed up his or her life will lose respect by those who followed them.  Sometimes people can earn that respect back, but it may take a long time to learn to trust them again. However, primary respect still comes into play. You're not going to spit on that person, or make fun of them, or hit them if you see them.  You disagree with them and don't look up to them with respect anymore, but human dignity is still in place, and you can pray for that person. If you know them well enough, you may be able to talk to them and show them the error of their way in a kind way. You might offer suggestions on how they can get out of the hole they got themselves into.

So please purpose in your heart to treat people with primary respect and dignity always, and if you have lost secondary respect for someone, revert back to primary respect at the very least and value the sacredness of life itself. Set the example; be a contagious respecter, and it will come back to you! 

Proverbs 15:1-4: "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit."

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