Everybody wants to be loved, preferably crazy, insane, romantic love that accepts you flaws an all. That is the frosting on the cake, that’s what sends us soaring to places we’ve never been before and plunging into despair. That kind of love can also be fleeting and elusive.

What people really want is a recognition of their humanity, all people,  men and women. We want to be recognized for who we are, to be seen, acknowledged, and treated accordingly. We wish to be identified as a member of the human race, as having value and worth all of our own, not dependent on our usefulness to others.

When it comes to “entitlement,” this is the one and only thing I believe people are genuinely entitled to. Call it being entitled to respect due to your basic humanity. But…..epic fail, because entitled or not, other humans tend to make a sport out of attempting to dehumanize each other. So, while we may be entitled to having our humanity recognized, chances are pretty good that it won’t always happen.

Some people like to say respect is earned, that when we first encounter people we exist in a kind of neutral, somewhat indifferent to them. I don’t buy it, respect is a given and indifference is actually a softer version of contempt. Respect is not earned, disrespect is. Loyalty, admiration, those things can be earned, but respect should be a given, the baseline everyone starts out with, simply as a recognition of each other’s humanity.

The fact that the world seldom plays the game this way, is evidence of a broken world full of broken people, often in a defensive and wounded stance. Let me deviate from my usual empathy here and say, I don’t give a crap. It does not matter what life has done to you, what your wounding is, what your biases are, being respectful towards other people’s humanity is a requirement, a mandate if you will. It’s not all about you. Other people are entitled to your respect, simply by virtue of their common humanity.

Everybody is on a journey and we haven’t walked in their shoes, so we have no idea what they’ve experienced, encountered, why they act the way they do. If we had been on their path, chances are pretty good we would have fouled things up even worse.

Something I really dislike seeing is ostracizing, bullying, demeaning, and shaming people. It doesn’t matter if it’s coming from church ladies clucking in disapproval or middle school mean girls sub-texting passive aggressive tweets.

People are forever trying to dominate each other, competing for the position of top dog. What the world really needs is less attempted domination and more leadership that takes the moral initiative.

From a Christian perspective, that is exactly what Christ did, took the moral initiative and led The Way.


****Repost from September 2015