Disrespect: Your Teacher
Imagine…you are sitting near someone you have known for years: you can choose whether it is family or friend. Think of a specific person. Do you have them in your thoughts? Imagine a conversation with that person where they become very disrespectful. They squint their eyes; the skin over their nose crinkles; they purse their lips; the tension in their jaws increases; and, all of this happens just before they open their mouth and the tone of their voice changes. Maybe they interrupt you in mid-sentence. Maybe they continue to talk over the top of you as you try to speak. Maybe they lean toward you as they are speaking. Can you think of a time this happened?
Disrespect can be a skillful teacher if allowed. Rather than defending yourself, consider going against your knee-jerk reaction. We want to be heard. We want to be recognized. We want to be needed. We want to be understood. We want to be pursued. WE do. WE. “We” also means they--the person to whom you are listening. Jesus, the Son of God, taught humankind that it is better to give than to receive(1). That means it is better to give respect than to receive it. This likely means sacrifice. It likely means surrendering, at least temporarily, on being in power. It likely means honoring someone who may be dishonoring you. The disrespect you are experiencing is a sign: it is the other person screaming at you the following words, “I AM NOT IN CONTROL, I AM IN FEAR, I AM THREATENED: WILL YOU SHUT UP AND FIND OUT WHY?! DO YOU CARE ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND THIS CORE PART OF WHO I AM?!”
Rather than responding to another’s disrespect by entering into an argument, why not allow disrespect to instruct you. See disrespect as a teacher who can help you understand a deep and volatile part inside of someone else.
(1) To read more about giving respect in context, click the following two links: