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Friday, May 14, 2010

Two Felt Gloves – Trust and Respect

We may think that the gravitational forces dictate much of physical life, but it is trust and respect that hinge the relational and spiritual life.

These two great pillars are what divide down the middle the very flow of our relationships and hence our rightful spirituality. These together, when practiced to a heavenly standard, are the pinnacle of peace and righteousness.

Trust – the Virtue

It takes trust to be courageous, and faith to trust. It takes courage and faith to be honest. It is love never failing and a seeking for kindness. One must trust to be patient—a chief virtue. It is forgiveness—the grace to forgive and forget; gratitude in all things; acceptance of things that cannot be changed, a perfect detachment of one to one’s desires, an openness to all good things; it’s a call to perseverance, rarely, if ever, losing hope.

Respect – the Virtue

Justice with love are capital virtues—justice always, sincerity, giving honour to all people, listening more than what would ordinarily be expected; it’s an unquestioned integrity, driven by humility, compassion, gentleness, and empathy, fairness at any cost; it’s consideration whenever it is due, and oftentimes when it is not; as well, tolerance for all people; it’s being socially intelligent.

Relationship-enhancers: Trust and Respect

Trust and Respect are highly interdependent on each other; if one does not respect people, trust is not afforded back in those relationships. If you don’t trust someone, they are unlikely to respect you—it’s a very reciprocal arrangement.

Trust and Respect – Taken Further – at Three Levels

In the context, then, of three levels: 1) the dependent standard, 2) the worldly standard, and 3) the heavenly standard; let’s explore trust and respect:

Trust is a key resource in life. How does it fit here? The dependent level is about mistrust and lack of trust. It is complete self-reliance. Actually, it may even not trust self. It may rely mistakenly on others. It’s certainly pre-disposed to dysfunctional and co-dependent relationships, because mistrust drives the field of vision and this person can’t see the wood for the trees. They trust the wrong people for the wrong reasons. Perhaps they’re all they have.

At the second, worldly standard level, trust is situational and it’s varied in the level of the trust shown. It’s very much dependent on being earned. It’s conditional. The problem with that is we, as human beings, tend to occasionally let down our friends, family, peers, and customers (i.e. all our fellow human beings). What happens to trust when it’s dependent on performance alone, and performance standards slip? It’s a major compromise and trust is bound to suffer.

At the heavenly standard level trust is implicit in the way a person lives. Trust is issued without ‘strings attached’ and it doesn’t even mind too much if it is not returned. Trust is an investment without a return required; it’s given freely. Of course, melding prudence with trust ensures that people don’t take advantage for long—forgiveness happens and wisdom removes the matter of trust being required. It then simply doesn’t go to the place where it will be taken advantage of.

Trust includes faith, grace, courage, honesty, kindness, patience definitely, as well as gratitude, acceptance, detachment, openness, perseverance, and hope. It is a very broad concept at the heavenly standard level, trust.

Respect is next. Trust and respect are so interdependent on one another it is often hard to separate them. For instance, if you respect someone they’re likely to trust you. At the dependent sin level there’s a lack of respect. I see this every day on the roads with people exceeding the speed limits, cutting one another off etc. Conversely, I also see situational respect (the worldly standard) on the roads when people concede for one another, allowing another car to enter traffic from a side street etc. But it all falls down when the driver who could allow another car in doesn’t, instead choosing to ‘hurry on’ or pretend they didn’t see them.

Respect at the heavenly interdependent level is about compassion, empathy, tolerance, and social intelligence. It is consideration and fairness, sincerity, honour, and the desire to listen to another rather than insist on being heard. It is also personal integrity and humility.

The heavenly standard is the consistently courteous driver. Now this will test every person reading this, including me. And we fail. We fail to meet this heavenly standard in each of the above areas. But, we do strive for it nonetheless.

These two felt gloves—trust and respect—are to be issued at the heavenly level. These are the keys to our relational and spiritual success.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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