Christians and believers of many other faiths place a high value on the dignity of another person. The Bible teaches that all people are created in the image of God. Therefore we should treat them with respect. Respect can be defined as the acknowledgement of the worth of another person and his/her right as a free individual. Respect is revealed as unconditional care and warmth towards another person. That includes the recognition of the boundaries that others set for their interaction with us.
To respect people means: That I will not manipulate, exploit or take advantage of others or misuse them for personal gain or pleasure to believe they have an innate dignity and purpose, to see value and worth in people to be courteous and polite, to show hospitality and kindness and to be tolerant and appreciative of individual differences. acknowledge the uniqueness of other people and respect their right to make decisions about their own lives.
In short, respect means to treat others in the way you want to be treated (the “golden rule”).
Respect implies that I will respect myself and my partner, also in the sexual arena. The way I treat my partner and family should be determined by my attitude of respect for their humanity, sensitivities, needs and wants. Respecting myself implies that I must be aware of my HIV status and not recklessly endanger the lives of others by irresponsible sexual behaviour. Respect will stand against all forms of abuse and misuse of the vulnerable in society.
Apart from respecting myself and individuals, I should also respect the norms and practices present in different cultures. Respecting someone background, culture, believes and language is a powerful way to combat moral viruses. It crates equality, values diversity and fosters dignity.
To think about: How can your respectful behaviour honor the dignity of others today?
Written by: Dr. Andre de la Porte, CEO, HospiVision, a trained as a ‘Churches, Channel of Hope’ Facilitator