Posted October 14, 2010
Disrespect has become a pastime all year, but with Election Day coming up, mudslinging and other forms of disrespect seem to be reaching new lows.
Slang words often show trends in society. To "dis" means to disparage or show disrespect. As time goes by, at least in our Western societies, there is more and more dissing .
Disrespect is shown by words (and the silent treatment), tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures and actions. Obviously, there are many ways to dis.
Disrespect is shown by what people do —like insulting others—and by what they fail to do —including being polite, courteous and thoughtful.
Today's world is seriously deficient in respect for noble values, for people in general, and for honorable positions and offices of authority, like parents, teachers, bosses, civic leaders, police—and even God.
Disrespect is seemingly everywhere
Disrespect is epidemic partly because it's contagious. When you're hearing it, reading it and seeing it all around you, it's difficult not to pick it up.
Much of popular entertainment—TV, movies, the Internet, etc.—is filled with rudeness, irreverence and profanity.
Wholesome humor can be a wonderful thing, but much of the world's humor is crass, sacrilegious and designed to shock. It's an effort to get laughs at someone else's expense with belittling put-downs, insults and ridicule.
Since the U.S. Election Day is not far off—Nov. 2—the political dissing and mudslinging is being ratchetted up!
Verbal abuse and disrespect are often a precursor to violence and other forms of abuse. In fact, disrespect is a precursor to hate .
We frequently hear about the problem of bullying at schools. Why aren't kids being taught humility, respect, compassion and kindness toward all people? Tragically, many young bullies grow up to be adult bullies.
How a person dresses shows respect or disrespect. Many people today hardly ever dress up, even for church services!
What does the Bible say about this subject?
Bible prophecy foretells that disrespect would be a characteristic of people in the end times. Paul wrote that people would "be lovers of themselves…blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers...brutal...haughty" (2 Timothy:3:1-4).
Isaiah wrote: "The people will be oppressed, every one by another and every one by his neighbor; the child will be insolent toward the elder, and the base toward the honorable" (Isaiah:3:5).
Disrespect abounds because of woeful ignorance of the Bible. And most people lack a healthy fear of God! After all, God knows everything and He judges all that we say and do.
Furthermore, God made every human being "in the image of God" (Genesis:1:27). Every person is a potential child of God with an eternal destiny. That's why every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
The Bible is largely about relationships, emphasizing love for God and love for all people. Mutual respect, a part of love, is fundamental to good relationships.
Following are just a few of the Bible's practical instructions regarding our attitudes and actions:
"'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (Matthew:19:19).
"Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king" (1 Peter:2:17).
"You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child" (Exodus:22:21-22). In other words, never abuse or take advantage of a weaker person.
"You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the Lord" (Leviticus:19:14). God wants us to support and encourage those with a disability, not make them the butt of a sick joke.
"You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord" (Leviticus:19:32).
"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another" (Romans:12:10).
The apostle Peter warns of severe consequences for those who "despise authority" (2 Peter:2:10). And many other scriptures address the topics of love, mercy, kindness and peacemaking as well as pride, anger, dissension and filthy language.
Conclusion: Each one of us can decide to respect everyone and, with God's help, show that respect. As President George H.W. Bush used to say, we need a "kinder, gentler world."