STONE THIRTEEN CONTINUED
Love: I learn to deepen my ability to love when I learn to tolerate, accept, embrace, and forgive. I choose to employ these attributes to my spiritual walk, to my personal relationships, and to my world view.
Instruction: Treat everyone with respect.
Some people might contend that respect must be earned, but respect is an extension of our commitment to tolerate, accept, and embrace. As such, respect is an ingredient of divine love. One definition of the word “respect” states this: “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person,…” Respect is often considered a choice we make, but I wonder if in fact it shouldn’t be given as a matter of course. We might not agree with a person’s beliefs or behaviors, but can’t we still respect them as a creation of The Divine? Can’t we look past the issues and problems that would have us lose respect and see the worth of the individual simply because they are, like us, wonderfully and mysteriously made? Sometimes respect is best given from a safe distance, and one way of giving respect is by not bad-mouthing, belittling, or seeking vengeance. By separating ourselves from our accusers and abusers, we not only show respect for them, but just as importantly, for ourselves.
I know that I have a lot of respect for a whale. What a wonderfully massive creature that owns the oceans and strikes fear into lesser creatures. If we can respect something that doesn’t have the power of thought and the potential for creation as we do, then I propose we can respect every human being simply for being alive — not necessarily for their actions, but because of the complexity of their presence and the potential for good that lies within them.
We respect our friends, leaders we admire, and those who commit to a cause that is greater than themselves. We tend to lose respect with people who disappoint us, turn on us, or abuse us. Though we disagree with their beliefs and might abhor their behavior, we can still respect their right to differ from us, and we can respect their right to behave as they choose. This is an aspect of love that some may find difficult to appreciate, but when we respect some people and disrespect others, we are judging them, and judging people is not our role. The role of spiritually-minded people is to love without prejudice and allow each individual to learn the lessons that the Universe assigns to them. We have come here to love. That is our role, our job, our meaning, at the core of our being, and our hearts desire.
Today’s Assignment is to consider if there is someone in your life who you do not respect. Can you find a way to show at least a small measure of tolerance, acceptance, and respect to that person? Would it help if you physically or mentally separated yourself from her or him? Do you also believe that you are just as worthy of respect as anyone else?
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