Monday, 20 July 2009

Respect breeds respect

Something else that was most noticable in America was the upsurge of respect. People greet you and treat you with respect. When I asked an attendant at Atlanta International Airport at midnight where the public transport exit was, the old man pointed me in the right direction and added: 'You're welcome, Sir!'
Street vendors, restauranteurs, hotel receptionists, shop owners, taxi drivers and people that you meet everywhere seem to have a new sense of dignity and regard for other human beings that shows itself in respect.
Someone once said that respect is the best form of self defence. When you speak respectfully to someone who reviles you, it disarms them completely.
Because of my army training, I understood the respectful salutes very well and quickly fell into the rhythm of calling other men 'Sir' when addressing them. It gives you a sudden rush of well-being!
All of a sudden it is a pleasure to be alive. For a moment you feel like royalty, like someone who deserves a certain respect and it takes nothing from you to reciprocate.
Come to think of it, it takes the same breath and the same energy to speak respectfull to others as it does to be disrespectful. It is a matter of choice. Or perhaps it is a matter of breeding.
America has a way of infiltrating society with its own values whenever they want to. It seems that there is a new upsurgence of respect wherever I travelled in America. It was obvious. When you buy a train ticket at a railway station or on the tubes they thank you and add, 'Sir'. It is a pleasure to do business with Americans on the phone. The respect makes you want to do the deal!
Sarah in the bible had a way with Abraham, the father of our faith. She respected him and even called him, 'lord'. This is going a further step, climbing even higher on the step ladder of respect!
When women respect their husbands they inspire them to do great things and to accomplish great feets. When children respect their parents it brings great joy to the hearts of the paretns who give their best to raise them.
All of us can do with a bit of respect these days - the times are hard and nothing comes easy, but respect costs nothing at all. We can all give and receive a bit more respect that will enhance our society as a whole.
Finally, respect towards God and God's Word, the Bible, and the institutio of a church will cause a revival of a new nature: the fear of God brings wisdom and perhaps we all need more wisdom than we realise.
Well, perhaps it starts with a bit of respect towards ourselves. But that is another chapter.

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