The Gift of Respectful Relationships

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This Christmas, think about giving those around you a wonderful gift: the gift of respect. Or, are you on the receiving end of a disrespectful relationship? Please give yourself a gift and find a friend or professional to confide in and discuss what resources might be available to help you.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Scriptures say, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…”  When this type of love shapes our relationships at home, in the community and in the workplace, respect will flourish.

When your relationships are built on respect, you can be honest with yourself and those you care about or work with. When mutual respect is practiced in relationships, abuse will not find a place to take root.

In fact, respect helps people live well and contribute to those around them. When people respect each other, they bring out the best in each other, trust each other’s decisions, and know that they are accepted for who they are. 

Being in a respectful relationship is fun and contributes to self-confidence.

The website, noviolence.com identifies the hallmarks of a respectful relationship as:

  • You don’t have to do everything together; it’s healthy to have different interests and opinions.
  • You’re prepared to compromise. Sharing decision-making is fair and equal.
  • You can be honest with each other and respect each other’s opinions and feelings.
  • You trust one another.
  • You have your own support team, working together and helping each other toward your individual and shared goals.
  • You accept that there are good times in a relationship and times when you need to be tolerant and accepting of differences.
  • You are not afraid to communicate your thoughts and feelings and talk about how you feel.

Disrespect is not healthy for any type of relationship. A disrespectful relationship is one where:

  • You are constantly trying to please another person to avoid conflict.
  • You’re made to feel that your opinions aren’t as important.
  • You are blamed for another person’s behaviour, addictions or problems.
  • You feel unsafe.
  • You feel your time, money or relationships are controlled by another person.
  • Another person prevents you from contacting family or friends.
  • You are pressured to do things you do not want to do or feel uncomfortable doing.
  • You are denied the right to practice your spiritual beliefs.
  • Spiritual traditions are misused to justify abusive behaviour.
  • You are put down or humiliated in public.
  • Your privacy is repeatedly violated by another person.
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Thanks for posting this Rachel - respect is critical in preventing abuse; and in being the kind of community that our Lord is calling us to be as his church, his body, in this world. It's one of the ways we can "shine like stars" in a world where disrespect is far too common.

 

Rachel, this is such a creeative and biblically-based discussion. I hope any leader who is afraid to address abuse would take some cues from your wonderful piece!

Thanks for your insight and faithful voice,

Andrew

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