We used to have something called “common courtesy” just a few years back. People expected to be treated respectfully, especially when dealing with businesses or employers.
But today, that all seems to gone by the wayside. And the degradation of human dignity has gone along with it equally as fast.
So what is courtesy?
Courtesy means to treat someone with respect. Respect their office, not their corruption. Respect their humanity, not their sin. And respect them for who they are, but ignore their rudeness.
Courtesy means elegance and politeness of manners connected with kindness; civility…an act of respect. (American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828)
It upholds proper human dignity.
What does it look like?
A person does what they say they are going to do and when they say they are going to do it. They don’t ignore someone’s need (not wants), and treats others as they would want to be treated.
An individual doesn’t come up to strangers and burn down their businesses because they don’t like the way the economy is functioning. They don’t throw fire bombs at people they don’t know because they think their rights are being violated by someone else.
A person who shows courtesy to another is someone who listens to the other person, acknowledges their position, then tells them their side of an issue. These are people who make the attempt to right real wrongs without beligerence or acts of violence. Even if it costs them a few more dollars, a company will correct errors with aplomb and grace. They don’t try to squeeze as many pennies out of the deal they can and cut corners to get work done correctly.
And they don’t try to shove their opinions down someone else’s throats. Whichever side of the coin they are on. They respect the ability for the other person to be capable of making up their own minds.
If someone doesn’t want to listen, they back off and recognize that the individual isn’t capable or ready to receive the other side of any story.
These are people who seek Truth and do what they can to make visible their core beliefs that reflect that value.
Courtesy and human dignity…
Humans as humans expect to be recognized. They may not always have the best interests in mind for the other individual or business they are dealing with, but they at least should be heard.
When someone becomes unreasonable in their demands, then they need to recognize their role in any confrontation. The same goes for those who ignore the reasonable demands of those they are cheating.
Courtesy itself makes demands. It demands that individuals treat each other with respect. But it also demands that both parties don’t try to force the other into positions that serve no purpose other than increase the antagony between them.
Treating someone with dignity is a balancing act…
When it is something that goes against Natural Law and subsequent moral outcomes, there needs to be an understanding of the True inaliable rights of every human being. But it should never, ever bump up against immorality and impose those vices on anyone else. Not legally, nor by force.
We’ve seen enough examples in history showing what that looks like. Nazi Germany, Communism in Russia, and what is going on in North Korea and China to their citizens.
Even here in our western societies, we are beginning to see a lot of enforcements that are against the will of the people.
Human dignity and human rights does not need to force itself upon another. It is a respect. And it needs a good moral code, not a legal system filled with unreasonable laws.
What do we do?
We start with ourselves.
When we find ourselves with unreasonable people, we need to take a step back from the situation.
If we can’t because our emotions get involved, then talk it over with someone who is wise and understands you. The way you react to a situation would be known to them and can often set your perspective right. A friend will tell you the truth about yourself, even if you don’t like what you hear.
Once you have your emotions turned down and your reason turned up, then take another approach to the situation. Sometimes it will help get things on track.
But sometimes we deal with people who are blinded to themselves. They don’t have any desire to grow and become better than they are. And they will continue to give harsh treatment to you because their hearts have grown cold.
Let God guide you to the next step.
When you approach those who no longer follow reason, often you must remove your emotional self from the situation and approach it with a legal perspective. Review what is going on, write down a timeline of events, then see what can be said to either diffuse the situation if possible or take a hard approach.
Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of, and don’t back down if your due rights are vioalted.
When I speak of “rights”, I am not talking about your opinions. It doesn’t mean anything to the rest of us what you believe if your beliefs conflict not only with reality, but also the Natural Law – what you are really due.
Basic rights include the right of private property ownership, freedom of worship, being treated with respect, and the 10 Commandments. Don’t cheat, steal, lie, etc.
In our world today, those in power have upped the anty. They are removing even these basic rights from people and say it is for our welfare and security.
But let’s not forget the wise words of a great man:
“Those who give up liberty for the sake of security deserve neither liberty nor security.”Benjamin Franklin
We willingly relinquish right after right for the sake of elusive security. We forget that those in government are people, not an entity far wiser than the common man.
And we lose our rights.
When the rights of the common man are violated by individuals, it is bad enough. But what happens in a society when we treat each other without courtesy – not so common anymore – then we allow those in power to take liberty and rights away from everyone. Willingly.
It all starts with courtesy and respect…
Without respecting another’s proper rights, we treat each other shamefully. Business owners and contractors take advantage of customers and cur corners for the sake of a bigger profit. Individuals destroy the property and livelihood of those they don’t even know in order to make points no one cares about. Those in power take advantage of everyone to remain in power.
In the end, those who violate the dignity of any human being lose. They cannot hold onto those unreasonable powers for long. History is replete with the desecration of human rights when the dignity of man is no longer considered valid.
To what end?
To no end. What we do on earth for gain is all we will ever achieve.
But if we choose to strive for something greater, and treat our fellow human beings with respect and courtesy, we will win in the end. We may look like we are fools in the eyes of the world, but time will vindicate our efforts. And our reward will be greater because we are striving for something beyond this world.
We will be striving to please God.
Be courteous. Even when those around your are not. In then end, you will gain the respect deserved because you respected others.
And do it for God’s sake. It brings with that act something more than human actions. There is a heavenly component that hinges on that act – and it increases its value. And extends Graces to the other.
Be courteous. Enhance the dignity of others by being courteous. And by becoming someone who sees the needs of others before your own need. And do it for God.
Even if it costs you everything.