These first entries have described my personal code using the acronym, “HIGHER”, as in “A Higher Education” which is HBU’s slogan. My code, the way I strive to live and to manage my office and work environment includes the concepts of Humility, Integrity, Glorify Him, Encouragement, and Respect. Previous entries have covered (briefly) through encouragement. This time- Respect.
I tell my students in both nursing and kinesiology that even though it may be hard to believe, there is no person who actually did crawl out from under a rock. I have met several in my personal and professional life whom I just knew could not have been human because of their general disregard for other people. They HAD to have crawled out from under a rock, because nobody could be as bad or awful or whatever and still be human! But that is not the case. Everybody has been created, and other humans were part of that creation.
God created human beings in His own image. The image of God. There is nothing more worthy of respect than His image. Since I consider my purpose in life to glorify God as I described in a previous entry, then showing respect for all humans is part of my purpose. Everyone should be respected because of Whose Image they hold. It would be wrong of me to withhold respect for another.
I am grateful for the defining moments in my career, though many have been unsettling. One such moment came when I was working in a large trauma center in the mid-1980s before many of today’s protocols and care guidelines existed. I realized that I was providing care for a sexual assault victim and her alleged attacker, who was in custody, at the same time. There was pressure (and I’ll admit to some temptation) to treat the alleged attacker in a manner which was less respectful than the treatment of his alleged victim. However, I did not give in to that thought, as I reminded myself about Genesis 1:27. It was difficult to hide my feelings of anger at one and pity for the other, but I treated them equally as simply people who were created in God’s image.
I have often considered the idea of degrees of respect for another person based on his or her behavior (which is beyond the scope of this entry), but again, I return to Genesis. Respecting other persons does not mean that I have to like them or their behavior, but that I practice the same dignity and care for them that I would show anyone else. Sometimes that is hard. Sometimes it goes unrecognized, and that is okay. Respect and recognition are not the same thing. Not everyone feels the same way about respect as me, and many feel that respect must be earned and can be lost. The basic point of this writing is that everyone is worthy of respect.
Healthcare providers face this concept of respect daily, especially since they do not receive the respect they should get by virtue of being created in God’s image. But these providers are still supposed give respectful dignified care. Whether they do as part of a “calling” or because of the professional codes of ethics does not matter as much as the fact that respect is given. God is glorified.