The Virtue is Respect and the Saboteur is Defiance.
Respect is earned not demanded.
We have a tendency to be defiant about respect. We demand and insist that respect be shown to one another. How did we get to such a point that the ideals of respectfulness are taught so disrespectfully?
Learning respect is very important and we learn it by watching one another. When a person receives the respect of others in a humble way, we are then humbled by them. We want to be like them and have others also be naturally respectful to us. But when we see someone who demands respect, we see people jumping to serve out of fear, not dignity. Then people learn how to put the fear of respect into others.
To be respectful involves humility. When people are being mistreated by others we know that their dignity has been disrespected. When people fall on hard times, they’re at a higher risk of being mistreated than those who are enjoying the good times. Those on top have an opportunity to protect those who are vulnerable, but all too often the vulnerable are treated as an inconvenient situation or worse, much worse. When we purposefully disrespect the vulnerable in society, then that society may also, in turn, become vulnerable.
The vulnerable have always been susceptible to maltreatment. Why some who are privileged in a society become defiant about being privileged is a mystery. Living respectfully is a privilege that serves all. When we’re defiant about our privileged lives, the shine of privilege becomes tarnished.
There is an old Indian proverb that says; “the tree by the road that is laden with fruit will have the most stones thrown at it.” When people are at their best or very kind, others will try to throw stones at them. On the other hand, when people become respected in a community, they will be tempted to throw stones of gossip and slander at the stone throwers.
Words are like stones — you can build a house with them, you can use them as a weapon, or you can give them as a symbol of your love. Being respectful about written and spoken words takes skill and discipline. Words will always reveal the quality of our minds. We can only speak the way we think. All words begin as thoughts in the mind.
Learning to disagree with respect and dignity takes us in the opposite direction of defiance. We have come to be defiant about the term political correctness, I can understand that those two words can sour a person’s attitudes. But name calling, gossiping, false accusations and harsh language will never invite dignified negotiations. This isn’t the way to respectfully speak the truth. When the truth is presented in harsh tones it isn’t the truth any longer. It’s suffused with criticisms and opinions. These two things don’t have to have anything to do with truth.
Speaking the truth in a harsh or undignified and disrespectful way removes the love. When love is removed, truth is removed also.
Peace be with you