Respect

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So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
1 Peter 2:17

My first job was working for our family business. In the little town where I grew up that happened to be a service station. Typical of small-town America, “Jack Tipple Motors” did everything from selling and servicing cars to fixing lawn mowers and pulling wayward motorists out of ditches. Beginning in my adolescence, I learned the subtleties of pushing a broom and as I got older did other jobs like running out to the gas pump when a car made the bell ding. That’s back when “full service” was the norm. My dad taught me by example and instruction the way I should conduct myself when serving the public. Although I never had the knack or inclination for the technical aspect of the business my Dad was in, I learned how to work hard, be reliable, and treat people with respect and courtesy.

One such learning opportunity came when a sales representative was visiting the shop one day. He had just finished showing my dad a display and I thought this would be a great opportunity to show off something witty I had probably picked up watching TV.  Although my dad had a sense of humor, I had not yet learned the art of when to speak up and when to remain silent. This was probably not the first, and certainly not the last time I would have to learn this sometimes painful lesson. As the sales rep wound up his talk I piped up and asked, “Got any more bright ideas?”  Everything stopped. Rather than the hearty laughter and knee-slapping I expected from the adults in the room, there was silence, an expression of hurt from the salesman, and anger from my dad. I had managed to simultaneously embarrass the salesman and cause my father to lose face. I don’t remember the details of what I was told after being marched off to our office. The lecture was brief, heated, and included my going back to the salesman and tearfully saying I was sorry. After all these years, the memory of that moment still makes me cringe.

Are you a miser?
Is respect your currency?
Do you dole it out
to those you think most godly?
Are you only a respecter
of those who stroke your ego?
Consider carefully…
before saying no.
Do you jealously guard
what you believe your place to be?
And who put you there? Was God the authority?

The love of God
we express for all we meet
must surely
generously
share a dose of dignity.
Befriend someone
who needs a friend,
but remember…
You can’t lift someone up
by looking down on them.

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
Winston Churchill

© Joel Tipple 5/4/2019

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