Whilst officiating at a funeral we were standing on the road above the chapel as the family were saying their final farewells. Many cars and tradies utes were going past and I did note that most slowed (notwithstanding the village speed limit!) when from behind me came a scooter. We all know how fast these things can go, so imagine my surprise when, not only did it slow significantly, but the driver/rider doffed his hat until he had passed the hearse.
This simple act of respect which may or may not have been noticed by others certainly had an impact on me. This is one of those little things which have been lost to our society. Respect for one another is such an important key to our relationships and it seems to me that most of our problems stem from its loss.
Gone are the days when women were treated as something special –when a man/boy would stand to offer a seat; when a door would be opened; when a hat would be doffed and when a man would stand when women arrived at the table to be introduced.
I am sure most would be thinking of other common courtesies that are rarely seen. But respect in our community goes so much further. No, we don’t have to like someone but equally we don’t have to be rude either.
Last week my car was in the smash repairers after being hit from behind. No personal injury, but being without a car can be restrictive. I was blessed to have been lent one but imagine my shock when I came back to it to find that it had been side swiped – a large dent in the rear driver’s side door and no note under the wiper. Again, no personal damage, but where is the respect for someone else’s property. When we drive around our community, what do we see? Too often large spaces are filled with graffiti, empty shops have broken windows and there is so much rubbish! Our TV screens are filled with vision of people being abused and neighbours who argue over matters which could have been resolved through a simple discussion.
The obvious question is why do people not respect either other people or other peoples’ property?
I am sure there are professionals who will have some answers, but for me it seems that there are those in our society who have either lost or never had respect for themselves.
In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus was asked this question.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Our great country was built on good, moral, ethical, social and dare I say Christian values. Perhaps it’s time for our society to get back to basics.
Grace & Peace
Your Tingira Chaplain