Gaining Respect

Respect-a-Woman-becauseProfessional women must work hard to gain respect. Much like minorities, respect isn’t just given to women. Many women raise children in environments where women are disrespected which perpetuates the problem. This dynamic creates a society where women are not respected. Thus, we have women’s marches of all sorts.

The spiritual life is rooted in one’s relationship to the Great Creator of all things, not in the whims of society. Demanding respect from other people will not work because other people are not God. Living a life focused on pleasing the Great Creator will ultimately lead to self-respect and possibly the respect of others. Living a life focused on benefiting oneself at the expense of others will lead to destruction.

Some of the most miserable people I’ve met are not people who have suddenly lost a loved one in a terrible tragedy – like one might expect. People who have lost loved ones are indeed filled with sadness. Yet, they are not miserable. Victims who are bullied, or who have suffered abuse, may think they are the most miserable people on earth; but really they are filled with anxious grief and unprocessed sorrow. The most miserable people on earth are those who fail to remove the log from their own eye while attempting to remove the splinter from another’s eye.

We cannot control another person; and, to try to do so is misery. People often lose respect by either engaging in gossip or trying to manipulate others. Imagine overhearing another couple arguing in a restaurant parking lot. One might quickly assume that this couple is on the verge of divorce when in actuality this couple has healthy conflict resolution skills and the ability to express their true feelings to each other. This couple might be passionately engaged in debating whether to buy a new pet or not. Strong feelings and the ability to experience them in a safe relationship is healthy and human. However, for an outside observer to take such an observation – and run with it – making it into a big slanderous story is evil.

This kind of situation happens way too often in church communities. A teenage girl holds another girl’s hand and all of a sudden there are rumors of lesbians. A boy is tardy for school and all of a sudden he’s addicted to drugs. A wife complains that her husband works too late and all of a sudden the gossip mill has decided that their marriage is over because he is having an affair. Someone has a spiritual growth experience and all of a sudden we are going to have a revival with levitating saints. You wonder why the young adults today do not want to be part of an “organized religion?” This would be a major reason.

God is found in the ordinary things of daily life. The smile of a baby. The fervent tail wagging of a friendly dog. The peaceful countenance of a faithful person suffering from cancer. The comforting strength experienced in a marriage between life-long companions. Watching one’s child or grandchild taking on their next phase of life and succeeding.

Fanatics who seek drama and attempt to “stir the pot” looking for excitement ultimately lose the respect of everyone. If women are going to gain respect in modern-day society, professional women must refrain from engaging in slanderous gossip and lies of all sorts. I believe that the most miserable people on earth are those who have propagated the most lies.

“Finally, brothers (and sisters), whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8) 


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