The previous article discussed the idea of “coexistence”, and how it is the key to stability, success and prosperity. Together, strength arises and lasts, and also excellence and speed of achievement are fulfilled. If the acceptance of diversity and the ability of coexistence lead to the peace and progress of society, they will only be achieved through the principle of respecting each other. Coexistence with respect is one of the most important rules of coexistence among members of society, and it is the secret of their advancement and supremacy. Progress will not be achieved unless society instills in its members all the meanings of nobility, authenticity and respect. We are all well aware that respect is one of people’s basic psychological needs, besides air, water and food.
Let us take a quick linguistic overview of the word “respect”, which is used as a noun and a verb. Self-respect means respecting oneself and having a sense of dignity. “Worthy of respect” means worthy of appreciation and consideration. As for the phrase “with all due respect,” it means that someone is respected and revered.
Out of humanity, we must respect one another, as we all bear the same human traits that God created and ingrained in us. God created us all as human beings, having sublime feelings that should be directed towards other humans. Hence, when we respect each other, this indicates that we respect God’s creatures, regardless of their differences. It is said, “When you do not sympathize with those you have hurt, or care about their feelings, then you should know that you have lost some politeness, morals and respect.” It is also said, “If respect fails, everything fails accordingly.” Any human relationship without respect is an abnormal relationship: love without respect cannot be true love, friendship without respect cannot be true friendship, and even kinship without respect is inhuman and meaningless.
Respect is evidence of faith, good manners and politeness. This is what religions have expressed and urged people to do. Christianity commands people to adhere to instruction, “Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life,” and to pray for it from the bottom of their hearts, “Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.” It also prompts them to seek it, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.” The Lord Christ said about the penalty for disrespecting others, “whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”
Islam warns against the cruelty of the heart and asks people to avoid it, “So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter.” It also urges people to speak well and softly while transacting with others, “And speak to people good [words].” It also points out that addressing people the same way you would like to be addressed is a matter of faith. Hadith says, “No one of you becomes a true believer until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself.” Among the signs of affection and respect is spreading peace among people, “Promote greetings amongst yourselves.” Thus, there is a great connection between peace and respecting each other.
Some people may be mistaken when they think that respect is a sign of weakness or need! The truth is that a person’s ability to treat others with respect confirms their humanity, and shows that they have principles and ethics. There is a sincere phrase that says, “Respect is the most beautiful effect a person can leave on the hearts of others.” I remember the words of Pope Shenouda III, the thrice-blessed, “Respect others, and they will respect you in return. Respect others for their humanity, regardless of their age, position or status in society. They are like you: human beings. Respecting people will make you earn their love, and will never make you lose your prestige. ”
Respect is one of the basic morals of people, a sign of their highness, and the most important thing that distinguishes them from other creatures. Respect should be for all other humans, should not be limited to some people in society without others, and should be among all groups of society with appreciation and reverence. In order to coexist with respect, the concept of one nation, the meanings of humanity, and the true meaning of freedom must be emphasized.
Indeed, the talk about “Beautiful Egypt” is endless.
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center10 February 2021