Last Saturday while returning from Nashville to Dallas on Southwest airlines, I picked up a copy of their magazine and saw a headline that caught my eye “The Ultimate Team Sport” by their Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly.
In the article, Kelly was comparing Southwest to a football team. In it he talked about the value of every team member, sticking together through wins and losses and how to treat others on the team.
“A big part of being on a team,” Kelly observed, “is how you interact with your teammates. Whether it’s the media, social media, or politics, there is a pervasive lack of respect and civility in the world today.”
Kelly then added, “Companies, and teams within companies, can begin to reverse this ugly trend with leadership and teamwork. At Southwest, we live by the Golden Rule. We make sure, in addition to working hard and getting results, that we treat everyone with respect.”
That’s one reason why we fly Southwest as much as possible. Respect. They really do treat the customer respectfully. Recently Norma Jean had to fly another airline and noticed a dramatic difference in the way she was treated.
Kelly’s article suggested that we’re all a part of some kind of team and as a good team member we should, “be positive, be optimistic and make civility a priority.” Great advice.
We can all begin by being more respectful in our families. Being respectful involves kindness, courtesy, and a regard for one another’s needs. In the great Love chapter, I Corinthians 13, Paul writes that “love is kind” and “does not behave rudely.”
Being respectful in our families involves husbands being considerate of their wife’s needs and desires (1Pet. 3:7). It calls for wives to respect their husbands (Eph. 5:33). And it requires children to honor and obey their parents (Eph 6:1-2). The home will be happier and healthier when everyone interacts in a respectful manner.
Being respectful in our church families is an integral component of brotherly love. It is esteeming and honoring those who Shepherd us spiritually (1Thess. 5:11; 1Tim. 5;17). It is following the Bible command of Phil 2:3-4. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.”
Being respectful means to regard the conscience of the weak brother. To give deference to those whose opinions may differ from ours. And to value the importance of each member of the Body.
Gary Kelly’s desire to create a climate of respect at Southwest is based on The Golden Rule. That’s Biblical. Jesus said, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt 7:12).
What if everyone followed Jesus’ Golden Rule in all our relationships? The tone of our conversations and the temperament of our conduct would dramatically change. From the White House to our house. And everywhere in between.
Of course, not everyone will treat others respectfully. When that occurs too many of us feel the right to react accordingly. The fact is that everyone should be treated with respect, whether they act respectful or not. This is God’s way of not only making the world a better place but setting His people apart from the world.
Peter put it this way. “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king” (1Pet. 2;17).
In a coarse culture of vanishing respect, let’s make civility a priority. Being respectful is something we can do each day to let our light shine for good, and for God.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman