Don't dis!

For me dissed was not only a new word but a shocking one when a friend who has worked with young people in the heart of the large metropolitan city where we live explained its larger implications to me. She said that sometimes people shoot and kill those who they think have dissed, or not respected, them. Even the slightest show of disrespect—a gesture with the eyes or a mere tilt of the head—may be enough to provoke a deadly reaction.

As I prayed to understand how to face up to and help heal this tragic situation, it became clear that a lack of respect isn't unique to young people growing up in a tough area. Haven't we all dished out and experienced disrespect? Being put down is a debilitating experience; it brings suffering and takes away confidence and joy.

Two of the Ten Commandments are useful starting points in praying to eliminate disrespect and its effects. The first of these—"Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3)—puts down the belief in more than one power. God, Spirit, omnipotent good, creates all like Himself. Therefore, each of us is, in reality, spiritual and good. To accept that we could be otherwise would necessitate believing in another power.

Bad temper healed
August 25, 1997

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