One of the characteristics of a civil society is the showing of respect to fellow citizens. The conviction that other members of a family, a town, a city, a nation, or a region of the world are worthy of respect.
– Samuel Rodenhizer
The Call for Unity
The call for unity has a nice ring to it. The problem with it is that unity is an outcome rather than an action item. What we need instead is a call to action…concrete things that anyone can do at little or no cost…that lead to improved outcomes such as unity.
Instead – A Call To Show Respect
The road from where we are to a greater civility is paved with showing respect. Showing respect costs no money and usually does not cost a lot of time either.
1 Listen Actively
When we listen in earnest we show respect. We also can learn how someone came to a certain belief or how that person decided to do something (or not do something). We get a chance to know them personally, learn another perspective, and if we are open to challenge…we get a chance to add to our knowledge. The people you listen to are likely to become more peaceful and respectful to you.
2 Be supportive
Find and state evidence to show that they make a difference and matter no matter your disagreements. With a little effort you can find something to respect in almost everyone. Verbalize it! It doesn’t mean you can’t have disagreements and talk them over…just don’t allow that to be the starting point every time. Make an honest effort to delay that and spend time building rapport.
3 Choose to be Kind
As my beloved pastor Phil likes to say, “Choose kind”. Like listening, showing kindness rarely costs money and rarely costs much time. Yet it is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give. Kind words, kind deeds, kind thoughts, they all matter and they all help. You get to decide what to think. Decide on kind thoughts whenever you can and especially when you’re not sure…err on the side of kind.
ShowingRespect – Begin and End With It
One of the great characteristics of a civil society is showing respect for individuals – all of them. The conviction that different individuals from a family, a town, a city, a country, or anywhere are worthy of being shown respect. May showing respect to each other be our primary focus as we aspire to a unity.