I have lived in Canterbury now for about 18 years, and yet I still find it strange when people comment when I say words such as path, bath, or tooth because I pronounce them slightly differently to southerners. – ie correctly! I have to admit I get a little bit confused… we are encouraged to be different and to be proud of the individuals that we are, and yet we also often find ourselves wanting to be like others around us. I guess it doesn’t really matter, but there is one thing that is essential throughout it all, and that is our characteristic of relationships that we’re looking at this week – Respect. Our thought for the week says:
To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater
Relationships are strongest when they are working together, towards a common cause. That does not necessarily mean that they are going to all like the same things, or be the same the kind of person. In fact, often they are stronger if there are people with different skills, strengths, and likes. However, it is essential that people respect the differences that people have. To respect doesn’t mean to become like them, but to acknowledge that people have differences in thoughts and opinion to you, and recognising when that might be a good thing.
In Paul’s letter to the Church in Philippi he gave this advice “Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves.”. Jesus demonstrated this in his life, he had no need to as he was God on earth. YET… he chose to spend time with people that other people in society ignored, he washed the feet of his disciples. He didn’t just respect people, but he demonstrated that respect as well.
We are called to love others, and one way to demonstrate that love is to respect ourselves and to respect each other.
Challenge: Show respect to those who have a difference of opinion to you this week, and challenge those who do not respect.
Prayer: Father God we thank you that chose to come to earth even though you did not have to, and that you spent time with people that were rejected by society. May we learn from your example of respecting others and demonstrate that in our lives. Amen