Season for Nonviolence: Day 26

Day 26: February 24

The thought for today is RESPECT.

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me; all I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” – Jackie Robinson

Respect for one another doesn’t mean we’re going to be best friends or even like each other from the start. Nor does it mean we’ll agree on everything. We may not agree on anything. What we can do is remember to honor the dignity of the other. From Abraham Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’ to Manfred Max-Neef’s “human scale development,” one thing is very clear: everyone has a fundamental need to feel valued and understood. Unfortunately, we too often find ourselves a divided humanity. Lately, that feels even truer as we’re split between conservatives and liberals, Christians and Muslims, straights and gays; the list seems endless.

Pulitzer prize-winning author and microbiologist René Dubos said, “Human diversity makes tolerance more than a virtue; it makes it a requirement for survival.” Dubos, the creator of the maxim ‘think globally, act locally,’ couldn’t be more right. Hatred, bigotry, and intolerance, whether in the form of words or actions, destroy community. Within the division they create lie the seeds of anger, suspicion, and violence. To paraphrase Lincoln, a community divided cannot stand.

This was our motivation for creating respect festfour years ago. Through music, personal storytelling, networking, workshops, and open discussion, we wanted to inspire event attendees and provide them tools to engage in positive community building through respect. It was our desire to bring together different people from all walks of life to share their music, stories, and struggles from their perspective and be heard as well as to listen to others as they shared their stories. Even though we may see life from different vantage points, we can still respectfully listen and learn without demeaning and dehumanizing each other.

Without basic respect, there can be no community. Without community, peace becomes unstable and violence becomes an undesirable possibility. By giving respect, we create a place where diversity is welcomed, differences are honored, and Love can flourish.

Nearly every spiritual tradition has at its heart some form of the Golden Rule: treat others the same way you would have them treat you. If we want respect, we must show respect. The teaching here is clear – we must take action first.

I will live in the spirit of namaste’ – the Divine in me sees and honors the Divine in you. I will show others the respect I desire for myself. I will not merely hear them, but actively listen with heart and mind and spirit fully engaged. I will honor the inherent dignity of each person with whom I come into contact.

breathe Peace ~

Rev. Rebecca

About Rev. Rebecca

After 30 years of trying to avoid God, I finally gave up playing Jonah and answered Love's call to service by becoming an ordained New Thought minister. Since that day in 2007, I've counseled a lot of people, performed some weddings, been a publiic speaker, and done some non-profit board work. Opportunities for service are presenting themselves in new ways for the coming year and I look forward to more of Love unfolding in my life.
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