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Respect

You might not love him. You might not like him. You might hate him. You might consider him to be the antichrist or Satan incarnate. You might disagree with every policy and opinion he has. You might wish he was dead. You might be willing to kill him. Maybe you have already formulated a plan to kill him? Perhaps you've already paid the assassin?


I don't care.


Could you at least speak to him as a human being? Could we at least take turns yapping so the conversation makes some sense?


I'm thinking (of course) about the presidential debate.


Admittedly, if I were any one of the 3 men with microphones last night, I might have done much worse. But still, the interchange was nearly unbearable.


I'm not talking about substance. I'm not talking about politics or personality. I'm just talking about basic human decency and self-control.


I happen to be somewhat (only a very little) fond of 2 out of 3 of the gentlemen (trying to follow my own preaching here) who continually rebuked, insulted, overpowered, and ignored each other in the first presidential debate. It doesn't matter. If they were students, I would send the to the principle with a recommendation for suspension. If they were toddlers, I would turn them over my knee. If they were my teens, they would lose their electronics for 6 months (at least).


Respect.


I've had people lie about me. I've had people attack me in front of others. I've had people demean and reject me. But those people were people made in the image of God. Perhaps they considered me to be their enemy, if only briefly. God still commands me to treat them with dignity.


I'm not really so upset with President Trump, candidate Biden, or moderator Wallace. What really bothers me is that such disrespect and disregard is no longer the exception. There was more order and restraint in the mock trial of Jesus Christ... in which Satan himself was the immediate influence... than there is in the interactions between opposing factions in 21st century America.


Maybe I'm wrong.


The Bible does say that sometimes you have to answer a fool according to his folly. Of course, it also points out that when you do so, you will be like him.


In any case, a person doesn't have to feel respect for his fellow man in order to treat him with respect.


Again, I'm not speaking with any authority here. It's a heart cry. I just long for a spirit of kindness; honesty; dignity; tolerance; politeness; cordiality. There is no problem with an individual being passionate. I can even put up with strong displays of anger and venomous personal attacks. Just wait your turn to talk and follow the understood rules of common courtesy. Have some self-respect, even if you have no respect for anyone else.


I don't know. Maybe I'm just getting old. But the chaos of that debate was all too representative of what our society seems to have degraded into on nearly every level. Just a bunch of high pitched vitriol. People shouting at each other; snatching insanity from thin air, all impulse and no self-discipline.


It's infuriating.


But of course, the answer is and always will be the same. Just keep preaching the gospel. Jesus loves, died for, and saves sinners of the most annoying and despicable ilk. What this world needs is the sanctifying presence of the Holy Spirit.


In any case, I think if I met Pol Pot himself on the street today, I would tip my hat, smile, and bow slightly to him saying, "Good day to you sir." I'm just hungry for some descent culture, self-control, civilization, and good-natured gentlemanliness.


Maybe it's just me. But, I doubt it.



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