I initially give all men and women I meet respect and trust. It may be my nature or makeup but one thing is for sure all people deserve respect. Even if it is a casual encounter you and I should always show them respect. I figure that every encounter is a chance to meet someone who may be very influential in your life even in a small way. Respect and trust go a long way in starting meaningful relationships with others, and the resepct your show others is an indicator of the respect you have for yourself.
I remember an encounter at a thrift store in California once. It was one of the hardest encounters I had ever had and it took every ounce of self control to endure the abuse that had been unwarrantably hurled at me.
I was looking at some books on a book shelf when a man approached from behind. Noticing I was somewhat blocking his view I said, “I am Sorry” as I turned my head to verify I was indeed in the mans way. His immediate reply was, “You sure are”. I received the response with raised blood from this casual personal attack, it was uncalled for and certainly disrespectful to a complete stranger. My blood was rising, as my flesh just wanted to pound the guy, yet the Spirit of God in me kept me calm. After a few minutes I was cool again but what I learned from that experience was not at all good if I was to continue on in any casual correspondence with strangers.
I ask myself should I ever respond politely if I think I may be hindering someone’s view or hindering their passage in a small isle like that?
Should we, who respect people as individuals, ever show politeness and respect openly before we get to know a person?
Well I think the answer is clear. We should respect and trust people openly no matter how we have been treated in the past by strangers. We could be taken advantage of and we could be insulted but we will learn how to discern who is worthy of continued respect and trust after such events.
Dealing with strangers is one of the things all of us go through on almost a daily basis. And despite the small number of people who act like the one I mentioned above, most people deserve respect and trust even if limited to a low level of it. Even if they are hard and course they are still a person God has made and endowed with the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And anyone God has made and put in your presence should be treated with respect for they are made in the semblance of God himself. And you will never know how that one chance encounter will affect a persons life.
I like to smile at people as I walk through stores and streets. I like to make eye contact and even if given a chance to say hello as we pass. We would never know how that little respect will affect a persons life. I read a story recently about a man who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. He left a note and it read loosely, “I am walking to the bridge to jump off but if one persons smiles at me I will not jump off the bridge.” Apparently not one person smiled at him because they fished his body from the cold waters of the bay.
Like I always say co-equal interactive relationships start with respect to others. Even if that respect is shown in a passing smile or kind word, they deserve it because they are Gods creation. And you never know how that smile or kind word will affect their life or save it. And you never know if that chance encounter may develop into a long lasting and mutually beneficial relationship. So show respect and trust towards each other even if they are strangers it never hurts to be nice, and in doing so you develop a stronger self respect as well.