God has made each of us worthy of respect. He really loves us. And the love God freely gives is something that everyone can feel.
It's feeling God's love that gives us grace toward other people. When we honor our brothers and sisters, we also honor God. A good way to esteem God is through respecting His children. Maybe that's why Jesus taught those who would follow him to love others as themselves. Our relationship to anyone really begins with our relationship to God.
It's impossible to get away from God. Nobody can be outside of the infinite goodness that is God. That's why everyone is really worthy of our respect.
At the same time, the wrong thinking and acting that people get involved in do not come from God; He gives only what is good and true. By recognizing that God rules by divine law, you can pray to establish the power of right thinking in yourself and in others. To bring into focus that which is truly worthy of respect. This will help to improve what goes on around you.
A particularly tough situation I faced in my company brought some of this home. I was working very hard to carry my end of the management team, but I felt resisted, maligned, and undermined by my peers. Though this was a heavy burden, I consoled myself - with thoughts of the superior way in which I did my own share of the work.
Then an acquaintance in the company, a fellow worker, kindly pointed out that my attitude had come through loud and clear to everyone.
I had something to learn. Jesus taught: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (Matt. 7:1, 2). I'd missed seeing the same goodness in the other members of the team that I saw in myself.
I needed to remember that God rules by divine law. That He had made everyone on that team in His good image. That no one was left out. This is the underlying love for our fellowmen and women that Christianity advocates. It forms a basis for cultivating successful relationships.
When we focus on faults and flaws - ours or others' - we miss seeing the identity God made. And that's the one always worth respecting. But we can replace our focus on people's imperfections with new views, views of character that reveal God's nature in us and in those around us. We can find how God, the creative, governing power of the universe, gives identity, intelligence, and substance to each of us.
Getting to know God brings a natural respect for all those who cross our path. This does not diminish your own sense of self-worth. It simply means that you consider people worthy of esteem because they are worthy of God. You are valuing them as you would like to be valued.
I began learning these lessons. Respecting others in my company became easier as I loved God more and learned more how to follow His guidance. When I began to value sincerely the contributions of the other members of the management team, things changed. The work atmosphere grew more supportive and harmonious. Respect brought respect. My thoughts about the members of the team mirrored my love for God, and I felt more love in the office.
Other people have said it in different ways. Paul, in the Bible, wrote, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves" (Phil. 2:3). Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science in 1866, wrote autobiographically: "This is my endeavor, to be a Christian, to assimilate the character and practice of the anointed; and no motive can cause a surrender of this effort.... I esteem all honest people, and love them, and hold to loving our enemies and doing good to them that 'despitefully use you and persecute you' " ("Retrospection and Introspection," pgs. 28-29).