Friday, July 12, 2013

Respect everyone: the wisdom of St. Peter and Malcolm X

St. Peter and Malcolm X said, "Respect everyone." It's excellent advice.

The full King James Version of 1 Peter 2:17:
Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
The italicized men means the word was added by the translators. A modern version could be, "Respect everyone. Love your community. Worship God. Respect your leader."

The full Malcolm X quote:
Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.
The second part makes some readers miss the first: Treat everyone with respect. If someone puts a hand on you, defend yourself—but even when it's over, be respectful. Malcolm undoubtedly knew Muhammad said, "Do not speak ill of the dead."

Peter's "honor the king" and Malcolm's "obey the law" do not mean you should not oppose bad governments or bad laws. Malcolm and Peter both died because they continued to speak up for what they believed.

Some people say respect is a two-way street, but if you insist others must be respectful first, you are saying they must be better than you. Respect is a one-way street. Respect yourself, and you can treat anyone with respect, no matter how badly they treat you.

A few quotes for respect

"Show respect to all people, but grovel to none." — attributed to Tecumseh

"If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die." - Maya Angelou

"Civility costs nothing, and buys everything." – Mary Wortley Montagu

“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.” ― Albert Einstein

“Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.” — Albert Einstein

“You should respect each other and refrain from disputes; you should not, like water and oil, repel each other, but should, like milk and water, mingle together.” — Buddha

"Men are respectable only as they respect." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.” — Voltaire

"For me, politeness is a sine qua non of civilization." -Robert A. Heinlein

“I fear no one, but I respect everyone.” — Roger Federer

“I don't have to agree with you to like you or respect you.” —Anthony Bourdain

"Do not contemplate your own good qualities, but contemplate the good qualities of others, and respect everyone as a servant would." —Atisha, Kadampa Buddhism

"Abusive language and swearing are a legacy of slavery, humiliation, and disrespect for human dignity—one’s own and that of other people." —Leon Trotsky

A few quotes against mockery

"A gentleman will not insult me, and no man not a gentleman can insult me." —Frederick Douglass

“If you can't answer a man's arguments, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names.” —Elbert Hubbard

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