DisRespect is that attitude expressed toward another human being, whether by commission or omission, that is demeaning, demoralizing, and simply rude, because it calls into question personal value, character, and integrity. DisRespect doesn’t have to be given from someone who is listening to the Ramones and looking for a reason to shout, “Anarchy!” in a crowded room. It happens in offices, in churches, and in homes, from the aristocrat to the in-line bourgeois. But why?
First, DisRespect happens because one person considers themselves too good to offer respect to someone deemed, in their eyes, unworthy. Honestly, there are arguable cases in which certain people don’t deserve or have somehow forfeited their right to respect. In that sense, maybe respect is a dynamic word, meaning that some people deserve more respect than others. A good illustration of this can be seen in the Japanese custom of bowing. In Japan, to say hello or goodnight, they bow with a slight bend at the waist and a straight back. But to an elder or a venerated member of the community, the Japanese will bow deeply and for a longer period of time, expressing more respect to that person. So Respect people. You may be “more” respectable, but people are still people and consequently deserve a degree of Respect, which leads to another point.
DisRespect happens because a person forgets God. Apart from the evolutionary theory (and it’s only a theory!), creation places humankind, made in the image of God, on the earth as the pinnacle of creation. Humankind relates, loves, contemplates, sympathizes, prays and meditates, and exhibits compassion. DisRespect, however, suggests that these qualities are somehow more apparent in one person than another. This simply isn’t the case. Although one person may be more loving, more compassionate, or more gifted than someone else, it doesn’t necessarily mean that less Respect is owed to someone fitting a different description. Respect is, in large part, a recognition of personal value. God created humankind. Therefore, humankind is valuable and should be treated with Respect.
Third, DisRespect happens because one person forgets to consider arguably the greatest axiom of life: “As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6:31; Matthew 7:12). Immanuel Kant called this idea the Categorical Imperative. He argued that no one should ever do anything that they wouldn’t want done universally. No one wants to be DisRespected. People want to be recognized largely for who they are and what they, and no one else in this world, can accomplish or offer. A person who strives to attain that respects others on their journey, because they too want Respect.
Finally, Respect and DisRespect begin with the self. If you cannot respect yourself, you cannot sincerely respect others. It’s not egotism or conceit. The realization of not only who you are but who you can be will revolutionize the way you treat others.