Saturday, September 26, 2009

Under the Category of “Life is Too Short….”

I remember one church where someone told me from the very beginning: “Around here, you have to earn people’s respect. They don’t just give it to you.”

Sounded fine. But I came to find out that it meant they didn’t feel obligated to be considerate or communicative or even friendly.

On the one hand, I’m not looking for special treatment and I understand that people have to get to know me before they can trust me. On the other hand, the older I get the less I feel the need to prove myself to anyone.

After a year or so of the cold treatment, the guy told me again, “Remember, you have to earn our respect.”

“Your respect,” I said, “is not worth the effort.”

I confess it was rather blunt of me to say but I couldn’t help it. A short time later, I respectfully moved on to a new place.

“If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” (Mt 10:13-14, NIV).


  1. Well put. I don't know if you've read much Nietzsche but I think you would enjoy immensely his many incisive analyses of the impotent and passive aggressive. No one who is internally powerful needs to try to lord their ability to reject other people over them like these clowns you describe.

  2. I have not read Nietzche but now you got me interested. Thanks for the suggestion

  3. I give respect first and would only take it away if someone did something to lose it.

    I just quoted the Mt 10:13-14 verses to a Christian friend who was arguing on carm with some atheists who show him no respect.

  4. Is there something ironic about your helping a Christian friend by pointing out scripture? I think Jesus would find that funny.

  5. Ha! True. ;-)

    Of course one doesn't have to believe a book came from God to see a few pieces of wisdom in it.

  6. After a year they felt that you hadn't done enough to earn respect? What on earth were they waiting for? I think your response was a pretty good one. I know from experience that the church in at least some of its incarnations encourages people to be doormats, and that doesn't earn anyone's respect.