The title of this post is taken from a musical group from the 70s that many of us remember all too well: The Staple Singers. This profound singing group consisted of a father, his son and his daughters. The particular song that moved me this morning made me reflect on my own children as well as one of the greatest messages that we who are parents and/or family members should constantly convey to others as well as practice with ourselves introspectively: RESPECT YOURSELF.
Respect: (Transitive verb) “Admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” ; “Have due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of.” ; “Avoid harming or interfering with.” ; “Agree to recognize and abide by (a legal requirement)” (lexico dot com powered by Oxford).
I’m going to post the beginning lyrics to the song “Respect Yourself”, which is the central idea behind our writing this morning:
If you disrespect anybody that you run in to
How in the world do you think anybody's s'posed to respect you
If you don't give a heck 'bout the man with the bible in his hand, y'all
Just get out the way, and let the gentleman do his thing
You the kind of gentleman that want everything your way, yeah
Take the sheet off your face, boy, it's a brand new day
If you're walking 'round think'n that the world owes you something 'cause you're here
You goin' out the world backwards like you did when you first come here yeah
Keep talkin' bout the president, won't stop air pollution
Put your hand on your mouth when you cough, that'll help the solution
Oh, you cuss around women and you don't even know their names, no
Then you're dumb enough to think that'll make you a big ol' man
These lyrics demonstrate ways we should all respect ourselves. I specifically like the lyric that says “If you disrespect anybody that you run in to; how in the world do you think anybody's s'posed to respect you?” These words bring to my mind a root definition for the word ‘respect’ that is more scientific than a simple courtesy. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in a lecture once broke down the word ‘respect’ in the following manner: ‘re’ means again as in ‘repeat’ and ‘specto’ means to look or see. Hence, the word ‘respect’ implies that we look again. To respect one’s self requires that we be constantly aware of what we say, what we do, where we are and whom we are with. To properly respect ourselves, we have to first respect TIME! The Minister teaches us that we must consider the time and that time dictates the agenda. We should ask ourselves frequently, throughout the day and in waking moments of the night, “what time is it?” because time dictates the agenda; meaning what it is that we should be doing to avoid suffering losses.
Holy Qur’an Surah 103 “The Time”:
“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.”
1: “By the time!”
2: “Surely man is in loss,”
3: “Except those who believe and do good, and exhort one another to Truth, and exhort one another to patience.”
These words from the Holy Qur’an capsulize our agenda relative to The Time and What Must Be Done. Exhorting one another to Truth and patience defines our agenda with anyone of our people regardless of their professed religious beliefs. Why? Because ALLAH (God) is at work today! The only thing that any of us should and can do is submit ourselves to His Will.
Now how do we discern individuals who do not believe as they profess to believe in Almighty God ALLAH? They do not practice what they preach. ALLAH says in the Holy Qur’an as an admonition to all of us who reflect “O you who believe, why say you that which you do not? It is most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not.” (Surah 61, Verses 2-3). The whole of this Surah is exhorting us to respect ourselves and showing the manner in which we can achieve this. For me it corresponds with Verse 1 from the lyrics of the song Respect Yourself, and how we can measure our respect for self by and to the degree that we show respect for others. There is pain, a degree of suffering and sacrifice always associated with growth. Please do not be dismayed and distracted by the current challenges, pains and even losses that everyone is going through today. It is all symptomatic of the time of change Authored by Almighty God ALLAH Who is making all things new! It is said that a wise man changes and a fool stays the same. When God Wills a universal change, fools can’t remain the same. However, the change of a fool may tragically result in death. In this way, life and death are a constant in the Universal Order of ALLAH’s Creation.
I’d like to conclude with a brief reflection on the concept that Deepak Chopra shared that creation is not a ‘was’ as much as it is a continuum that is still taking place today. This is why the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan are constantly reminding us to read the signs of how an old world is going out and a new world is coming in… Do you think it’s time for you and I to make a change also? YES!!! This personal change must start with and by the renewal of our mind and thoughts and overall… RESPECT YOURSELF! 😇