I wrote a post that talked a bit about respect and in the comments, Nadine asked for a definition. What is respect? And I responded, without thinking too much about it, like this:
Ah, Nadine. I love how you get to the nitty gritty! What a good question. I guess I am talking about living in a posture of respect, if that makes sense? So, I’m not just talking about tolerance or just about actions that portray respect, but something deeper.
A posture of respect would involve some kind of personal investment, at least to see and to hear. I have to be willing to see and to hear in order to be respectful. I don’t have to agree or even, necessarily, act. But I do have to be present.
A posture of respect. Something deeper than simple tolerance, or acting and speaking in a politically correct way. But a posture, a way of holding myself, that is respectful. And I wonder if this is not so much about shoulders back and back straight, but about shoulders bowed and back bent. To kneel and hold. About putting one head close to another, to hear the whispered words, the quiet words.
Because can I really see a hurt, a wound, or even joy, unless I am willing to bend close? Can I really hear a heart unless I am willing to draw near and quiet my own words?
In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.
Jesus – the sermon on the mount