Communicating With Respect

Communicating With Respect

On the heels of the current trend toward impersonal forms of communication is a dramatic

increase in disrespect. It is so much easier to sit behind a keyboard and rattle off messages that

we would never dream of saying to someone’s face. The levels of sarcasm and unkindness have

increased to record heights. This has also been exacerbated by automated telephone answering

systems and similar technologies in which we are no longer speaking to another person but to a

machine. It’s much easier to be disrespectful to a machine.

Christians must keep in mind that courtesy and kindness are who we are. These attributes are

not optional for the child of God, but are to be continuously practiced and refined throughout

life. The “Golden Rule” enunciated by our Lord is: “All things therefore whatsoever ye would

that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them: for this is the law and the prophets,”

(Mt. 7:12). The wise counsel to “do unto others as you would have them do onto you” is

constantly in the back of the Christian’s mind every time he or she sits down to a keyboard.

“Would I want someone to say this to me?”

Beyond the Golden Rule, however, is a level of respect which is achieved in the heart of the

Christian by clearly recognizing the value of other people. They are souls, with an eternal destiny.

They will live forever. They should be treated with a sacred respect. Our heavenly father created

them through Jesus Christ, and he loves them. He sent his son to die for them, (1 Jn. 2:2).

Understanding the awesome love and justice of our God constrains us in the way we treat other

people. None of us would want to stand before God in judgment having abused his creation,

especially his children.

When I speak to a clerk at McDonald’s, I am speaking to a person whose soul is every bit as

valuable as mine. I am addressing someone whom my Father loves as much as he loves me. Not

only should I speak respectfully because that’s the way I would like to be treated, but because I

truly love this person, and so does God.

This is hard for the Christian to remember, especially when these worldly people treat us with

such disrespect. It is easy to respond in like manner. It is easy to retaliate and justify our actions

by the rude treatment we have received from them. But the Christian is held to a higher standard.

That’s because the Christian is aware of facts and information not known by people of the world.

The Christian has the benefit of the gospel, the Holy Spirit working through God’s word within

his heart. Noticed that the gospel gives us greater opportunities, but with greater opportunity

always comes greater responsibility. Too many times, perhaps, we are quick to claim the benefits

of Christ’s death, but slow to comply with the conditions of Christianity. We want to “have our

cake and eat it too.”

Communicating with respect requires preparation and skill. It requires us to consider how we

will handle situations even before we are in them. And then, when we are actually in the situation,

it requires us to remember and apply gospel principles of love and respect, patience and

forbearance. In short, it requires us to act like Christians.

If you are struggling with courtesy and kindness in your communications, you might try

reviewing and hiding in your heart the following passages: Lk. 6:35; 1 Cor. 13:4-7; Gal. 6:10;

Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12; Prov. 11:17; 31:26. Consider also Christ’s teaching on forgiveness and

accountability at the judgment, (Mt. 6:14-15, etc.). These principles do not come naturally, but

are gradually worked into the Christian mindset by the power of the Holy Spirit working through

the word of God. With practice and adherence, they gradually become second nature to the

Christian. If you find yourself making unkind, rude or offensive comments on Facebook,

consider the practical application of these Bible passages, and examine yourself about your own


We are living in an age of unparalleled disrespect. Disrespect to the government, the police,

the flag, but especially blatant disrespect to each other and to God. I hope these thoughts help us

develop and nurture the respect for God which should characterize us all.

– by Robert C. Veil, Jr.