I have always believed and espoused that in order to love someone you had to respect them.
That is a hypothesis that I have been questioning deep down in my being.
I guess in the broadest sense it is still true. It is most certainly more nuanced than it is has ever been before.
Our current political climate has been the primary container from which I have begun to question the inseparable relationship between love and respect. Social media has been the screen upon which the evidence has presented. I have read numerous ideological statements from people I love for which I have no respect. These statements and positions have deeply challenged some of my most preciously held values. I could barely believe that the name under which these repugnant opinions were bannered belonged to the same individuals I have known and loved. It really led me to question whether or not I had ever known these people at all. How could what they are saying be so out of alignment with the spiritual positions they share and claim to believe and operate from? How could they be so out of synch with Principle when it comes to stating policy? How can the denigration and defamation of any living being be a part of any authentic spirituality?
It is that last question that began to light my way to the connection between love and respect. If I am remaining in horror and judgment of these individuals I claim to love then I am the one with deeper work to do. I can well choose to respect the freedom of choice, position, ideology, and expression without respecting the position being taken. I can respect the deeper level of the person without also respecting the politics being espoused. I can love the person without loving what they may currently be representing.
While I still believe in an intrinsic connection between love and respect it has become more deeply explored and integrated due to what I have been observing lately. I have had to personally work with the feelings moving in me in response to what I am seeing and reading. I have had to massage my own level of relationship with these ideas and take a stand for the values I hold true and sacred. I will not let these issues cast asunder the love and essential respect I have for people, though I strongly disagree with what they are choosing to represent. And I am experiencing a deeper level of self respect for how I am showing up in this heated climate of hateful rhetoric, what I am choosing to and not to say.
So regardless of your position or politics I respect and love you as a fellow expression of the One Source. I will not agree with what you are saying but I will always ensure you have the right to say it. Your heart is far more important than some of the words that are coming out of your mouth. It is from my heart to yours that the bridge between love and respect is trod.