Words by Colonel Jostein Nielsen.

I do not need to spend many minutes reading messages and comments on social media before I start to wonder if some people have forgotten what respect means. 

However, today my question refers to the etymology of the word and the call to show respect. The word derives from the Latin respicere, which means ‘looking back at’ or ‘seeing again’. 
For me this has at least two meanings:

  1. To see a person and let him feel ‘seen’ again and again.
  2. To treat a person in such a way that I can meet him again without being ashamed.

When my wife, Magna, many years ago should find a name to the after-school project we have in Eastern Europe, she chose to call it “See me!”. When children are seen and acknowledged, they grow and mature because they feel respected. If they aren’t seen, they will try to attract attention often in ways that are not necessarily good. Very often they know that what they do is not good, however, nothing is worse than being ignored and excluded. 

Adults are in reality only children who have grown up. We also need to be seen, and the mechanisms we use when we feel ignored, are often similar to those we used as children. 

I know that the Lord is my shepherd( 2)  and that he watches over me. Jesus called himself the good shepherd (3), and as God sent him into the world, Jesus sends us (4). This means that one of the roles embedded in discipleship, is to be shepherds = people who see others, and by doing so show respect and include. 

From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind…
Psalm 33:13

‘Manna’ for today: 

… and we are his eyes here on earth

(1) General Peddle’s call: A Call to Inclusion: We must be beyond reproach in treating all people with respect and compassion, remembering our mission to meet human needs in Christ’s name without any discrimination. 

(2) Psalm 23 
(3) John 10:11 
(4) John 20:21
What does ‘Respect’ mean?