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WITH ALL DUE RESPECT- Have you ever thought about the phrase, “with all due respect” ? I mean why do we say this phrase right before we are about to disagree with someone's opinion or stance on an issue? A lot of the time we say this to someone whom has been put, or has an assumed position of authority above us. In other instances we might use this phrase if they have procured achievements, experience or wisdom, which under most circumstances would render giving them a heavy measure of weight and value to their opinions and thoughts, or conclusions about how something should be done.

When is respect, actually due to someone? What does the word due, actually mean?According to Merriam-Webster; Due means 1- to owe a debt. 2- to owe something as a natural or moral right. 3-according to accepted procedures or notions. So, when talking about giving someone due respect, we might give respect because in some way we feel we actually owe a debt to the person or because taking the moral higher ground deigns giving respect, even to those so sparse on class that they do not reciprocate likewise, or because it is just socially sort of expected to give someone in a certain position or at a certain level, a measure of respect.

Now, let's explore giving someone respect because we feel we owe a debt to them. Particularly, a debt we have little hope of ever being able to payback fully, so we hope they forgive us at least a part of it. Some writings I am in the habit of perusing from time to time, speak a bit about forgiving a debt but it is based on a reciprocal pattern; something about “as we forgive the debts of those who owe us.”Some translations speak of forgiving trespasses instead of debts, one is about not doing enough to help; the other about forgiving something that actually harmed, but in either case the forgiveness is about not demanding or expecting payment and hoping that same grace is extended to you.

Now, in the case of giving respect because it is the morally higher ground. In this scenario you give someone respect, you show that you value the intrinsic worth and dignity in every human soul, even when it is not reciprocal, even when they insult and demean and malign your character, you operate on a level of a more advanced soul and show respect anyway. The last one, where most of us have reached a consensus that respect is due because it is the socially appropriate thing to do. We give respect to someone because as a society we have deemed certain positions, certain levels and certain stations in life, as worthy of respect because it is a place of honor.

When we have a debate or discussion with someone and we respond to something said with the phrase, “with all due respect” but then we counter with an observation, position, or opinion completely contrary to what they have just stated, it is a way of recognizing that they have some authority in the area that may actually reach a level where it deserves some laurels or honor but you believe that they may not be on the right side of a particular issue.

As for me personally I come down on the side that respect in most circumstances is earned, not just given. Just who does deserve respect in my humble opinion? Does a parent deserve respect? Well; not automatically. Just being able to reproduce another human being does not mean that human being owes you a debt of gratitude just for giving them life. A baby gives no one respect. A baby is completely self-centered, self-absorbed and focused only on its own wants and needs. Despite these obvious character flaws, most of us whom are parents fall completely in love with them anyway. It is in the act of nurturing a child as they grow, in which we hopefully garner their respect. It is the act of self-sacrifice that builds respect between a parent and child. When you put the needs (not the wants) of the child, way above your own, when their well-being their “hearts” their spirits and their future, take prominence over yours, then you deserve respect, not just because you have the title of parent.

Does a teacher deserve respect? It is sad to say but not all of our nations teachers actually deserve to be given due respect. I know in my own personal experience that number was much lower than- all of them, many of them seemed to almost be perpetually angry at life in general and children in particular, teaching for a pay check, rather than trying to instill wisdom and curiosity in future generations. Now, the teachers who actually do give their heart and soul to the children around them, providing insight, inspiration, a sense of belonging and hope, to those under their tutelage, then they deserve such enormous amounts of respect, we could not hope to ever repay all that is due them.

How about a coach? Is he or she due respect?, Well; if she truly cares about the athlete, about bringing out the best in them, if they care about the lessons sports are teaching them like how to persevere and become a team; if they care about the athlete, in particularly a young athlete, both in competition and in life, then yes, they are due loads of respect, but if all the coach cares about is the win, at just about any cost, including demeaning, degrading or exclusionary tactics, then no, she deserves no respect at all.

Does a spouse deserve respect? We so often give the least respect to those whom we know the best and share our lives with. Familiarity seems to breed apathy and even contempt in some cases. This scenario should be reversed, those we share the most intimate parts of our lives with, should be the ones we show the most respect! Science has shown that for men especially, they feel truly loved when they are respected ( for women it is more about tenderness, openness and vulnerability.) In those writings I was talking about earlier it also speaks about women keeping silent in certain places. This was not an attempt to keep women in their place. Women followers of “the way” had been given new found freedom, which they had never known in this culture before and some of them where openly contradicting their husband's opinion in an open forum, thus wounding their husband at the core of who they are. When a man feels his thoughts are truly valued and honored, he feels loved. The same is true for the next part; for respect to be reciprocal, the men had to be completely selfless, putting his wife way above his own needs, only then was he worthy of respect.

Does someone like a policeman deserve respect? If he is truly there to serve, to make the community safer and not on some power trip then yes he deserves our highest respect. Does a member of the clergy? Same holds true here, if they are serving out of a deep sense of love and compassion and righting injustice, then they deserve loads of respect but not if it is an ego boost about power and authority. How about our leaders, even those in an elected office. If they are there to serve, to make the world a better place than how they found it, they deserve nothing but respect . If however they have the mentality of a baby, completely self-centered and it is about power, image and focused inward instead of outward, then in that circumstance, they deserve no respect at all.

How about God? Does God deserve our unquestioning obedience and respect? If you have a view of God as some kind of cruel dictator, waiting to punish you when you mess up, then you are very unlikely to give that God any real respect. If however, you have a view of God as a being who sees you as a soul of incalculable worth, one which He loves without hesitation or reservation, then respect comes naturally .

Those whom are brave enough to stand against injustice in this world are the true heroes, in my book. The ones whom fight against inequality, poverty, bigotry, prejudice and all the things that rob us of inherent dignity. They may do it on a knee, they may do it from a pulpit, they may do it with pen and paper, or in a protest against hate, coming down against them with torrential force. They may do it in a classroom or a courtroom or in a foxhole but these are the ones on the side of justice and they are the ones deserving respect and honor. Those that lose my respect are the ones whom act like babies, with inflated egos, whom believe it is all about them and their wants, when it should be all about love and service to each other and fighting against injustice, until it is wiped from the face of the earth.




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