Well-Being with Whitney: How to Show Respect without Agreeing (President Trump)

Now we have President Trump here in the USA — and I’m not thrilled about it, but I accept it with grace. My concerns have to do with Trump’s character, which seems far from presidential. Trump often speaks (and tweets) mean-spirited comments about other people. He has been involved in all sorts of scandals, from financial lawsuits to sexual harassment cases. I didn’t vote for him and can’t imagine doing so.  However, despite how I feel about Trump, I’m committed to learning how to show respect for him. Why? Because all people are worthy of respect (because God made them) and our national leader is worthy of respect (because of the dignity of the office).

Trump has made plenty of mistakes, but his bad choices don’t make him a bad person. He’s still a valuable soul who is one of God’s children — no matter how much I (or anyone else) disagrees with his decisions. The “hate the sin but love the sinner” adage definitely applies here. Learning to respect all people is a vital part of our well-being.

Many people seem to enjoy bashing Trump and just leaving it at that. But where does that get us as a country? We’re already so polarized that fear and anger have become the default ways of communicating about our political issues. We can keep shouting at each other forever, but still not make any progress toward solving our nation’s problems.

Or, we can be graceful with each other, as God is with us. We can learn how to respect each other, and actually learn from each other, and move forward as a nation to accomplish good goals together. Maybe it takes an experience like electing a firebrand president to motivate us to do that.

One of the qualities I most appreciate about a person is his or her ability to listen. Others have told me that I’m a good listener, too. I think listening more than talking is like a spiritual workout that strengthens our respect muscles. We might hear a lot that we disagree with — but we all can learn valuable lessons from each other.

So when President Trump’s outrageous behavior bothers us, let’s think about what better choices we can make in our lives that are more respectful. Instead of letting our anger trigger us only to complain, let’s use the energy of our anger to do whatever we can to understand each other better and work together on solving problems.

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