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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How Trust and Respect Rely On Dignity

If they don’t respect your dignity,
They don’t deserve your trust.
Jesus was a man who respected the dignity of the lowest person. Indeed, he identified himself as that person – the lowest rung on society’s ladder (Matthew 25:40, 45).
The person in the humblest of circumstances is considered lowest. But, let’s face it, humble things that occur are circumstantial. Nobody creates their own blessing. So no one can take credit to find a silver spoon in their mouth, just as it’s nobody’s fault that they are brought up in an abusive home.
The subject of the lowest is essentially one of dignity. Are those of low socio-economic status given their dignity? Do the people we come into contact with feel dignified in our presence? All of them?
Dignity is about trust and respect. When we dignify someone they feel respected and trust is able to flow between us without doubt for each other’s integrity.
When we lack consideration for a person – maybe because we gossip about them and it gets back to them – trust plummets. And the respect we perhaps painstakingly earned is sometimes destroyed forever, unless we are prepared to repent appropriately to that other person’s satisfaction. So many good relationships are destroyed because of one significant event and a lack of meaningful repentance.
If we are to work on anything regarding the accord of relationships it ought to be dignity. If the unconscious and uncommunicated needs of dignity are met then we have the basis for trust because we have respected them. If we have missed the mark for any reason, respect is shaky and trust, shakier.
Dignity is the foundation for virtue in a relational context.
Given that the relational context is the primary environment in this life, we are counselled well to abide in learning and executing the respecting of people’s dignity.
Respecting another person’s dignity is a biblical mandate, and it is interesting that the perspective that matters regarding the respecting of dignity is the perspective of the other person.
We are to treat others how we would wish to be treated, but that can be a cop out when we decide we don’t need to be treated a certain way – that they are being ‘precious’ when they ‘overreact’. The other person determines whether they have been dignified or not; if they feel they haven’t, we still have more work to do.
Dignity is all about the other person. Our respect relies on our dignifying them. Then they might trust us.
If they don’t respect your dignity,
They don’t deserve your trust.
But if you don’t respect their dignity,
You’ll not receive their trust.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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