Treat One Another With Respect (Part 1)

I struggled to wake up this morning.  I don’t know if I just didn’t sleep well, or if my body is still not used to getting up at 6:00 AM, but I did get up…and fell back asleep around 6:30 or so.  When I finally woke up around 9:00 AM, I was sitting in my recliner trying to get my brain and my body going, and turned on a popular sports reporting channel.  A new show for this time slot was on, and I really didn’t know much about it.  But there was nothing else on, and I was just wanting some volume to help get me going, so I watched. 

If you know me at all, you know that I absolutely despise politics and political rhetoric of any kind.  What is happening in our country due to politics right now (both sides, which is part of the problem; there are sides) makes me sick.  There is yelling, screaming, lying, people becoming “offended” when someone tries to calmly express another view point or opinion, and just a general disdain for others.  Unfortunately this has become the norm in our culture, but that doesn’t make it right by any means.

While I was watching the sports show I referenced earlier, however, I came to a very sobering realization.  It is not just in politics where this behavior is not only seen, but has come to be expected and approved of.  The reporters on the show were having a discussion about different things that have happened in the sports world over the last few days, and even had guests coming in to add to the discussion on certain topics.  But every single topic “discussed” turned into a yelling match.  It was manly one reporter, but none of them on the show are innocent of this.  They even ganged up on one of the guests that was on the show because he had a different take on the topic they were discussing.  The thing was, he had first hand knowledge of the event, because he used to be a part of the organization.

What I realized, our society, as a whole, whether it be sports, religion, politics, or anything else, has lost the ability to have a civil discussion/debate with one another without becoming belligerent.  If someone doesn’t agree with what we have to say, then our only course of action is to be louder and more abrasive than they are so that we get our point across.  Even when we are trying to give our opinion on something and no one else is trying to add to the conversation, the louder we are the better we think we are getting our point across.

Our society has lost the ability to have a civil discussion/debate without becoming belligerent.

Well, guess what.  That is not the way we should be interacting with each other.  Loud and obnoxious does not always translate to correct.  It does not always mean we win the argument. 

And it just might meant that we lose our audience completely.  After one episode, and I only caught the last half of it, I know that I will never watch an episode of this particular sports reporting show on this network.  In fact, I have just about given up on the network in general, except for actual live sporting events.

Why can’t we just be civil with each other?  That doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything that everyone does.  We can value and treat others with respect even when we fundamentally disagree with someone.  Why is yelling at someone over a difference of opinion, especially in something as trivial as sports, an accepted behavior that gets someone paid millions of dollars? 

This country would be in a lot better shape than it is today if we could all learn to treat one another with respect an dignity.  Does that mean we would all get along?  Absolutely not.  But we could come to the point that we would just agree to disagree.  And this is not just for Christians.  I normally only concern myself with Christian living type articles on here.  Today, I am writing this for every single person in this country.  We have to stop yelling and screaming at each other, and learn to treat one another as a fellow human being. 

Tomorrow, I will write a follow up to this article directed at Christ followers, discussing how much more important it is for us to live in peace with others, what that looks like, and steps we can take to accomplish that in our lives.  So, look for that sometime tomorrow.  In fact, if you want to make sure you don’t miss it, you can sign up to receive e-mails every time I post something here on the site. 

For now, whether you follow Jesus or not, whether you are a Democrat or Republican, whether you love President Trump or despise him, or whatever else seems to divide us in this country, I want you to ask yourself one question.  What gives me the right to yell and scream at someone just because they look at things differently than I do?  I’m not trying to tell you that you have to agree with everyone.  I’m not even telling you that we have to live in tolerance. 

But we need to get to a point that we can at least agree to disagree with one another.  We have to respect ourselves and each other enough to treat everyone in a civil manner.  I mean, really, would you like it if someone is just constantly yelling and screaming at you because of a difference of opinion?  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  If we can all do that, then maybe, just maybe, this country and this world will be a much better place to live.

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