Yes or No? In or Out? Red or Blue? We seem to be bombarded with an endless stream of binary choices, each with varying degrees of influence on our lives and about which we have little or no voice.
I am not qualified to join the debate filling the blogosphere on the demerits of current US Presidential hopefuls. Living on “the other side of the pond”, I have no say in that election and my opinions can only be shaped by the completely unbiased (is there even such a thing?) media coverage. The debate, if you can call it that, has been somewhat visceral and escalating as the impending election date approaches. Not that I am pointing any fingers at our American counterparts; many recent elections in the UK have been far from, well, honourable.
The politics of the 21st century seems to be anti politics. Rather than standing for office on the basis of the positive things they believe in, the thrust of many a hopeful’s campaign seems to be what they are against. “Vote for me otherwise you’ll get my derogatory caricature of the other side.”
If we listen to the mainstream media, the notion of honour in politics, and society at large, seems to be consigned to history. To honour someone is to respect and show courteous behaviour towards them. We may not agree with “the opposition”, in whole or even in part, but this does not give us the right to malign them for our betterment.
One of the fundamental Christian beliefs is that people are important, and not because of what they do. Often in spite of what thy do. People have value because they are created “in the image of God”1. This should have a huge impact upon how we treat everyone.
Defacing the likeness of a monarch carries serious consequences in many nations. Disregarding the image of the supreme ruler is the demonstration of contempt for that ruler; it is treated as though the offence had been committed against them in person. How much more significant is it when we are disparaging towards those who are the image of the Supreme authority?
In no way do I suggest that you must agree with everything anyone says. It would be foolish to even contemplate it. But how we disagree, that’s the crux of the matter. Can we disagree without being disagreeable? Is it possible for two to have diametrically opposed opinions on some matters and yet still be close friends?
When you disagree with your peers, subordinates or those in authority over you, or perhaps your family or friends, treat them with honour.
Discuss the decision, don’t deride the decider.
Attack the policy not the person.
Honour is an attitude; it looks good on you.