Respect and Obedience
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What is 'Respect'?
Respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. When we have respect for someone we have due regard for their feelings, wishes or rights.
What is 'Obedience?'
Why is 'Respect' important?
Respecting others as 'human beings' with human rights is crucial if we as humanity want to be able to co-exist in Peace and harmony while appreciating diversity. Showing respect to all of humanity as 'people' with human rights, no matter what race, or religious label, or culture, or background helps to show each other that as humanity we are 'one', together we are 'stronger' and that all of us respects and appreciates each other's efforts in helping our society run more smoothly. Showing respect to those who look after us, who care for us, teach us and help to guide us- such as our parents and elders and teachers is a part of showing them that we appreciate and are grateful for what they have done for us. When we show respect for all people who commit and work hard by having a role in society- it is a way of showing gratitude for their efforts to help others and we show that none of us are better than anyone else except in righteousness, and that as long as we all do what we can to help people with whatever blessings we have- that is all that really matters. Respecting the rest of creation and animals and plants and other species is also vital if we as humans want to live in peace and harmony on our plant earth without destroying it or causing unnecessary harm to creation. Obedience according to the law of the land on which we live and the rules and ways of our societies and within our family relationships is also important if we want to avoid conflict and harm for others as well as ourselves. Treating one another as we ourselves want to be treated involves respecting other people's lives, properties, their freedom for speech, their freedom to worship and believe, and respecting their opinions- and if we do not agree with them through respect and tolerance- as long as we are not causing harm to others or breaking the Law by doing so. Society runs more smoothly when we all set up rules and regulations through democracy- and respect the rules. For example- if just one of us disrespecting and disobeyed the highway code and starting driving on the wrong side of the road- this would cause chaos and likely accidents that will cause injury and harm to others. Or if we live in the houses of our partners or parents- we shoud obey the houserules. Or if we work for a person or a company- we must obey the rules of the company or person for whom we work. Or if we attend a school it is important for us to respect and obey the rules of the classroom and school environment. If we choose to disobey the rules of those who have authority over us- it is likely we will be 'expelled' from that environment as it will lead to disruption of peace and harmony. Another option is to 'choose willingly' to leave peacefully the environment where do not feel able to respect or obey the rules due to feeling that it is suppressing our ability to be true to a Higher Being, what we believe, or to ourselves. There are many in these situations who 'migrate' for the cause of God or for what they believe ( if given an opportunity to do so)- because they feel oppressed within themselves and do not feel comfortable being in an environment where they or their loved ones are not being respected or allowed to freely express themselves.
Many of God's commandments according to Scriptures are based on the concept of 'respect.' It is the 'platform' on which love and compassion and kindness and trust and relationships can develop. God advises us to show respect to Him through obedience to the guidance He gives us through prophets and Messengers according to the best our abilities and knowledge and with sincere hearts, respect to parents, respect to all creatures to show loving kindness to all of His creation while maintain the seeking of truth and upholding justice for all.
How can 'Respect' help us?
When we show respect to others during our upbringing, we are more likely to learn from them, and take on board the advice and guidance that they give us which can help to give us discipline and learn a moral code that helps us and enables us to guide others when we are more able. Showing respect does not mean we must believe and agree with anything others say- as we get older and our intellect develops, we gain more responsibility to question the knowledge that is given to us and the authenticity of it using our own logic and reason and minds and hearts. Through our own individual experiences we can make more sense of the knowledge passed to us, and find our own 'truth' on our individual journeys- and even if we do not agree with others, it is always more peaceful and humane, when we can show respect to their opinions and version of 'truth.' Being respected by important people in our lives growing up teaches us how to be respectful toward others. Respect means that you accept somebody for who they are, even when they're different from you or you don't agree with them. Respect in our relationships builds feelings of trust, safety, and wellbeing. When we respect each other truly, we are more likely to 'listen' to their opinions and try to understand their perspective more. It becomes less about us, and more about them. This way we become more 'open' to learning from others, and they then too will hopefully be more open and feel more inspired to respect us too and listen to our perspective. This helps us to better communicate and understand one another- a crucial part of any relationship. But having respect for someone is not enough- we must actively 'show' this respect by use of appropriate speech and behaviour, being modest and considerate and gentle towards one another, soft in speech, patient while listening, and avoid hurtful and disrespectful nicknames. Words can be incredibly hurtful, and cause conflict and anger in others, precipitate retaliation and lead to war and aggression. It must be avoided as much as possible- and if one feels they are unable to 'respect' someone or something because of their strong difference in opinion or belief- it is better to wish them peace and walk or turn away from it. Similarly, if we are living in a land and do not agree with its rules and regulations- instead of disrespecting or disobeying them- it might be better to leave and migrate to somewhere else that is more in line with our beliefs and practices. This does not mean that we need to be so respectful that people should simply not be allowed to state their opinion- quite the opposite in fact- all people have the human right to be able to have freedom of expression- and this is why a society of respect and tolerance is so necessary. We should be able to live in harmony with one another in justice and fairness, despite our differences in our opinions and beliefs. The more we do this- the more 'free' we ourselves will feel too to be able to be true and honest with ourselves and others and not live in a way that is simply to say what others 'respect' or 'want to hear.' People and animals and all creation will live together in less 'fear' of one another if we all showed more 'respect' to the value of one another's lives and rights. When there is less 'fear' within us, we make more room for 'love' and with that can come pardoning of faults, and forgiveness and compassion and mercy. This helps society further to 'unite' in acts of loving kindness. This can be applied to both on a personal relationship scale, as well as a community relationship scale.
When others respect and 'obey' our rules within our own environment- whether it be our children at home, or those whom we have authority over at work, we are able to establish a better relationship that is based on trust and love and comitment with them- and therefore be there in the long run to help one another during our times of need. It helps to feel more at ease in their presence, more appreciated for our efforts, more encouraged to continue doing what we do to help them, guide them, and encourage them to one day be in the position of leadership that we are ourselves find ourselves in. It enables to show them more love and kindness as they have made us feel valued for our efforts. It enables us to believe in ourselves more, and as long as we ourselves are humble and take guidance and show respect to what or who is above us in authority- eg what we believe to be the Law of God, the country we live in, the society rules and regulations, we are more likely to be inspiring to those who we are responsible for. However it is important for us too to show respect to those who follow our rules and show gratitude for their efforts too- so that they do not feel 'trapped' and 'oppressed' and 'not able' to be true to themselves under our authority. This way they are more likely to be inspired to be like us, and more likely to comply more readily and peacefully to our rules and regulations. It is good to allow others to question our choices for our rules if they feel the need to do so without disobeying them. If they feel a strong need to disobey- then it is important to allow them freedom to leave the relationship out of the relationship due to 'respecting their freedom to choose', or leave that area of work, or go on their path elsewhere under a different authority and to 'set them free' from obligation- as long as they do not cause harm to others in doing so.
When we are respected for who we are and what we believe and how we make our individual choices- we are in a way given 'freedom' to be more creative. However with this comes also a huge responsibility to bear the burden of our deeds and behaviour. The more freedom we have through respect for our wishes and desires, the more responsibility we have to do good with that freedom. Those of us who choose to do good with the freedom we are granted are more valued on the whole than those who are compelled to do good. On the other hand, those who are compelled to sin under a controlled disrespectful authority are more forgiveable than those who choose to sin and cause corruption willingly and out of 'free-will.'
How can 'Respect' help others?
When we are respectful in our speech and mannerisms and behaviour, we naturally attract others to wanting to spend more time with us, continue doing acts of kindness towards us, and establish a better relationship with us- whether this relationship is a parent-child relationship, personal, or business- respect can help to create a platform for 'trust' and when the other party feels that their point of view is respected and if not agreed with- at least tolerated, it helps them to feel more 'safe' in our presence and less frightened that our behaviour or speech will cause them or their loved ones harm. By showing respect, we help others to feel more comfortable to express themselves and therefore be 'true' to themselves and be more 'creative.' in ways which benefit others, in a way that causes less harm. By eradicating fear in our relationships, and by helping one another feel more respected and valued in our relationships, we listen more, we learn more from one another, make each other feel more 'valued' as human beings with rights- no matter what differences, no matter our diversities; we understand one another more, we help one another 'grow' both spiritually and emotionally and with this often comes the growth and development of love and compassion and peace and harmony.
It is important to show respect for those who take a role in our lives of caring for and guiding us and looking after us. It is a way of showing an appreciation for the efforts and time that is spent for our benefit- even if we do not agree with it- as long as we know it comes from love- we must show respect for the fact that it comes from love. The more respect we show, the more likely it is they will continue to care for and love us and guide us to the best of their abilities- it helps to give them a sens of happiness and peace about expressing their love- so let us invite each other to showing respect for the love that we share with others- even if we do not agree with the advice or knowledge that is being passed on. We should not be compelled to obey that which we do not believe if we choose to follow a different way- as long as this way doe not cause harm to others. Therefore just as children should show respect to their parents- parents can also be advised to show more respect to their children by allowing them to have opportunity to express their opinions and when they are older- to find their own way. The more respect we show our children in return for their respect- the more likely they are to show others respect in everything they do in the future and feel valued themselves, and to believe in their capabilities and potential to be true to themselves and therefore find true happiness and meaning in their lives.
How can we become more 'Respectful?'
Often people themselves need to feel respected before they feel more able to respect others- but where there is conflict between different people or groups- one party or person has to start the process.
Let us invite one another to starting the process in areas of our lives that we feel it would benefit humanity.
In order to be more respectful- our actions speak louder than words, and words speak louder than thoughts or feelings. The more in line these are with one another, the more 'sincere' our respect will come across to others. One must get a balance between being respectful and 'obeying' rules and those we respect while staying true to themselves and what they genuinely believe and feel within themselves. We should not lie with our words and actions and be submissive to others and have to completely take on board and follow their advice and guidance and knowledge without questioning its authenticity ourselves- and we should not feel obliged and oppressed by others to simply blindly follow their ways without respecting our own human rights and freedom of speech to be able to express ourselves. So respecting others, must come with also respecting ourselves. One cannot be sincerely done without the other. Therefore sometimes we need 'tolerance' instead of 'respect' and other times it is better to just simply agree to disagree with others in a calm and respectful way and turn away from those we consider to be ignorant. But it is always best to try to control our anger- which takes practice and strength, to help us to avoid saying hurtful nicknames other than the truth that might come across as being disrespectful to another's perspective. Again- we do not have to suppress our understanding from others- especially if our desire to advise comes out of love and not aggression or vengeance. If others interpret our disagreement and our being true to ourselves and respecting ourselves by stating our opinion as 'disrespect' or 'offensive' then in these circumstances it is better to walk away and dis-involve ourselves from one another as much as we can- but if we cannot avoid it- then at least continue being just and fair to one another in our actions- while avoiding the topic of conflict in our speech. But by saying words of kindness in response to aggression and repaying evil with good- we are more likely get along- by finding what we have in common rather than arguing about our differences- we are more likely to get along with others in loving kindness and respect and harmony. If someone else disrespects us by using harsh words and speech towards us- it is best not to retaliate as much as possible- say words of peace and walk away. However if someone is repeatedly disrespectful to others around him through his actions and behaviour, it is better to actively try to stop this behaviour for the better good of humanity- seeking justice- until that person stops causing unnecessary harm to others through either repentance and mending his or her ways, or being removed from having the ability to continue causing harm and oppression to the human rights of others. It is best to do this in the least harmful way possible according to the law of the land, and what we believe to be morally 'right' and 'wrong'. In this way we are able to establish peaceful relationships within ourselves and our Creator, and amongst one another- we establish courts of justice which are based on respect and tolerance and diversity, while knowing not to exceed our boundaries of God's Law, not cause unnecessary harm to one another and allow Him to be our ultimate King and Judge of our intentions and deeds. Even a king or leader from among us has rules and guidance that he must respect- otherwise he or she is likely to lose his ability to inspire and be a good role model to those he or she leads.
Let us remember- to treat one another how we ourselves would want to be treated.
(Above Writings are based on the reflections of Dr Lale Tuncer)
Scripture quotes on 'Respect' and 'Obedience.'
Do not profane God’s Oneness in any way.
Do not curse your Creator.
Do not murder.
Do not eat a limb of a living animal.
Do not steal.
Harness and channel the human libido.
Establish courts of law and ensure justice in our world.
'I am the Lord Your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage'. Exodus 20:2
'You shall have no other gods beside Me. You shall not make for yourself any graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them, for I, the Lord Your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.'Exodus 20:3-6
'You shall not take the name of the Lord Your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.' Exodus 20:7
'Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord Your God, in it you shall not do any manner of work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your man-servant, nor your maid-servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day. Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.'Exodus 20:8-11
'Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord God gives you.'Exodus 20:12
'You shall not murder.' Exodus 20:13
'You shall not commit adultery.' Exodus 20:13
'You shall not steal.'
'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.'Exodus 20:13
'You shall not covet your neighbour’s house, nor his wife, his man-servant, his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbour’s.'Exodus 20:14
‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.’ Mathew 7:12
‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ John 13:34-35
‘Worship God and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents.’ Quran 4:36
‘Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour.’ Quran 17:23
‘And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.’ Quran 31:14
‘And do not insult those they invoke other than God, lest they insult God in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do.’ Quran 6:108
‘Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And God is Hearing, Knowing.’ Quran 2:255
'To you, your religion; to me mine.' Quran 109:6
‘We have honoured the childrens of Adam, and provided them with rides on land and in the sea. We provided for them good provisions, and we gave them greater advantages than many of our creatures.’ Quran 17:70
‘O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant.’ Quran 49:13
‘Whosoever kills a human being without (any reason like) man slaughter, or corruption on earth, it is as though he had killed all mankind.’ Quran 5:32
‘You shall not kill any person - for God has made life sacred - except in the course of justice. If one is killed unjustly, then we give his heir authority to enforce justice. Thus, he shall not exceed the limits in avenging the murder, he will be helped.’ Quran 17:33
‘As soon as he leaves, he roams the earth corruptingly, destroying properties and lives. GOD does not love corruption.’ Quran 2:205
‘O you who believe, do not consume each others' properties illicitly - only mutually acceptable transactions are permitted. You shall not kill yourselves. GOD is Merciful towards you.’ Quran 4:29
‘He will certainly help those who, if given power in the land, will worship God through prayer, pay the religious tax, enjoin others do good, and prevent them from committing evil. The consequence of all things is in the hands of God.’ Quran 22:41
‘And give to the orphans their property, and do not substitute worthless (things) for (their) good (ones), and do not devour their property (as an addition) to your own property; this is surely a great crime.’ Quran 4:2
‘Proclaim: "This is the truth from your Lord," then whoever wills let him believe, and whoever wills let him disbelieve.’ Quran 18:21
‘Do you know who really rejects the faith? That is the one who mistreats the orphans. And does not advocate the feeding of the poor. And woe to those who observe the contact prayers (Salat) - who are totally heedless of their prayers. They only show off. And they forbid charity.’ Quran 107:1-7
‘The divorcees also shall be provided for, equitably. This is a duty upon the righteous.’ Quran 2:241
‘Do not approach (the bounds of) adultery.’ Quran 17:32
‘...and when they came to the Valley of the Ants, one ant said, ‘Ants! Go into your homes, in case Solomon and his hosts unwittingly crush you.’ Quran 27:18
‘The male thief, and the female thief, you shall mark, cut, or cut-off their hands/means as a recompense for what they earned, and to serve as a deterrent from God. God is Noble, Wise. Whoever repents after his wrongdoing and makes amends, then God will relent on him. Truly, God is Forgiving, Merciful.’ Quran 5:38-39
‘There are some who await God's decree whether He will punish them or relent on them. God is All Knower, All Wise.’ Quran 9:106
And whoever repents and takes corrective action, certainly he turns toward God with true repentance.” Quran 25:71