Lack of respect versus respect in our lives – The Ukiah Daily Journal
By Reverend Anthony (Tony) Gameley
After Nelson Mandela’s death in 2013, Zelda La Grange, his personal assistant for nearly two decades, wrote a book called “Good Morning, Mr. Mandela”. La Grange was a white apartheid Afrikaner girl and was born, like many of us, into the racist ideology that viewed Mandela and others as dangerous terrorists.
When political change occurred in South Africa in 1994, and after completing his one and only term as president, Mandela asked La Grange to remain his personal assistant – a move that sent a powerful message of reconciliation to the world, given South Africa’s tortured racist past.
Interviewed about her book, La Grange was asked: “What’s the biggest lesson you learned from Nelson Mandela?” His response: “Respect. “
We live in a time of unprecedented disrespect: innocent men, women and children slaughtered or starved to death with apparent impunity as a numb world stands and watches; corruption and lies are rampant in the highest management positions; family members have low esteem for one another, resulting in “silent” hostility, hostile feelings and domestic violence, often violent; lack of respect for women, children, the elderly and those of different cultures and ethnicities; nation threatening to lift the sword against nation; And the list continues.
The golden rule – “Do to others what you want them to do to you” – seems to have disappeared from the radar of the world.
On a less tragic but very common scale, there is also the disrespect we show to others by being glued to our iPads and cellphones, so that personal interaction, conversation and interfacing with our fellow human beings is neglected and virtually non-existent.
But there is good news, as the late Billy Graham has repeatedly stated: God loves you! And because of God’s love for each of us, we must love and respect each other.
At this time of year … we are reminded that God so “respected” our need for salvation and fullness that he sent Jesus into the mystery of the Incarnation, not to condemn us, but to live and die. for us and give us new life, even everlasting (John 3:16, 17).
Moreover, in light of the recent United Nations COP26 World Summit Conference in Glasgow, we are challenged like never before to respect and generously conserve what God has made: the Earth and all the treasures it contains. (Genesis 1:31; Psalms 8 and 24). We must also respect one another, not only as equals, but as “better than ourselves” (Philippians 2: 3) – another tall order, but not impossible if we put our will to it. ! And we have to respect the opinions and positions of others, even if we don’t agree with them.
Respect takes hard work and effort, and our human nature will often get in the way. But Christians walk at a different pace – a higher moral order, given by the loving God himself.
Dear reader, may you feel the immense love and respect that God has for you and your loved ones this Christmas time and always, and may we as individuals do our best to reflect something of this respect and love in our daily dealings with each other. . God bless you.
Reverend Anthony (Tony) Gamley is the Acting Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Ukiah.