Dignity is the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect. My youngest son went on a went on a homelessness retreat last week. In addition to visiting a shelter and learning about homelessness, he walked a couple of miles with rocks in his shoes to simulate the pain of a broken foot. His “family” of four had to figure out how to live on $15, and he spent the night in a car. I asked him what is favorite part was, and he stated spending time talking with an older gentleman who was homeless. He learned that all people are worthy of honor and respect.
I’m sure I’m not alone in my disdain for the current political climate. There is no escaping the rants of those who choose to vocalize their opinion. We have lost all discourse, and we have stopped treating people with dignity. I question if just turning away from it is enough?
My son’s experience and this current climate has me reflecting on what I want my children to know about humanity, how God adores every child, and treating every person with honor and respect. Am I teaching them enough about the power of words? Am I teaching them enough about using social media? Am I teaching them enough about inherent worth of all people? Am I modeling the behaviors I want them to learn? As I read and reread this scripture, I don’t think I am.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4: 29-32 NIV).
This scripture sets a very high standard. It challenges me to swallow my first response, breathe deep, and speak with kindness. It challenges me to stand up against the unwholesome talk of others with compassion. It challenges me to see those who go unseen by others and build them up. This is hard. It is taking practice. I stumble. My heart breaks.
I want all people treated with dignity. I want my family to know their value. I want to have a positive impact on others. It begins with me. It begins with my prayer for God to open my eyes. It begins with me listening to the nudges of the Holy Spirit convicting me to improve, change or apologize. Will you join me in this prayer?
How do you see dignity in others? Share your stories here and breathe life and bring hope to others.