The Law of Respect

RespectWe all do it at some point: complain about a law and justify how wrong the law is, typically not because of a widespread injustice but, more often, because of a personal infringement. When we’re in a hurry, we complain about the speed limits. When we pay taxes, we complain about the government taking what is ours. We complain about what we don’t like or what is uncomfortable. We still choose to speed even when we know the consequences, and we still get jobs and buy houses and shop even though we know we’ll be charged taxes.

I’m not saying I like every law or even that every law is just. There is a time for fighting a law in the name of justice. However, I think we need to stop to think about our motivations. How often do we complain about something because of the personal cost or inconvenience it has on us instead of looking at the broader application and the motivation for the law in the first place? How often do we think about the “what if” ramifications of changing the law? Likely, as many if not more people will be negatively impacted with a significant change. How often are we willing to say, “This is pretty inconvenient for me, but I understand how it benefits a lot of people other than me. It’s a small sacrifice for me to make for the broader community.”

We too often want what we want no matter the cost. We want what benefits us. And we complain about what doesn’t benefit us.

It’s time to take a step back. Consider others. Set yourself aside. Look at justice with a broader stroke. Respect the law instead of complaining about it (except in the case of gross misjustice when something should and must be done, and then, take the respectful approach). We might not like some of the consequences of our choices, but calling foul just because of our discomfort doesn’t mean a foul was actually committed except for our  own disregard or disrespect of the law.

It’s not just about following the rules; it’s about thinking about others, getting outside your own perspective and preferences. It’s about honesty, humility, and respect.

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