Christian Faith, biblical principles Devotionals Family & Relationships Personal Growth Self Improvement

Embracing Differences with Love & Dignity

“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works. And in your teaching, show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame having nothing evil to say about us.”  ~ Titus 2:7-8 ESV

As a Marketplace Minister, Community Builder, Wedding Officiant, Life Celebrant, Marriage Counsellor, Writer, Podcast Host & Mixed Media Artist (**whew!**) I have found it extremely challenging to craft a business motto that communicates my core values while clearly stating my professional vision, mission, and principles. One might say that coming up with a simple, yet impactful message that also embraces all the diverse aspects of “who I am” is an impossible task… and that may very well be true. 

However, simply making the effort to go through this exercise has provided some valuable insights. For instance, it helped me realize how important it is that my community sees me, not only as a local business person providing a valuable service but as a fellow human being. Like most of us, I strive to be the best version of myself while also struggling to embrace my God-given limitations. I’m also a unique individual and there’s way more to my story than can be expressed in an 11-word slogan. Suffice it to say that there’s a lot about me that people would never discover unless they took the time to get to know me. So, the first lesson I learned from this exercise is that my business and I are not separate identities. I am the brand and the brand must reflect me and my values. At the same time, I know that who I am and what I stand for may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and because my brand and I are one, this could impact my business at times. 

Putting yourself out there as a business owner is hard enough, without the added pressure of your personality or values factoring into the equation. It takes courage to step into any new environment (let alone to thrive in it) and since I’ve reinvented myself more times than I care to count, I’m all too familiar with the feelings of vulnerability and the need to prove myself that inevitably come with the territory as I embark on any new adventure. Even though it can be scary (and people don’t always show up as their best selves in those situations), these experiences have taught me the value of being patient, observant, objective, and unbiased. 

As a counsellor and student of life in general, I pay attention to situations around me and I’ve often been asked to mediate tensions between individuals or groups. In these situations, I’ve noticed that tension is often caused when one or both parties feel “disrespected” by the other. If you’ve ever had this experience, you may have noticed that feeling disrespected triggers our sense of vulnerability. We may start to turn in inward by questioning ourselves or perhaps we cope by turning our feelings outward by blaming or rushing to judgment about the other parties involved.

However, when we take the time to be curious about each other, it helps us to understand the ways in which our perspectives and motivations may be different. It allows us to appreciate and honour what is special about the other and teaches us that neither is superior. That appreciation and commonality are what lead us to feel confident, respected, and valued. 

I’ve also learned that while it’s helpful to get to know others in order to better understand and respect our differences, it’s essential that we also challenge ourselves to find ways in which we are alike. One significant area that is commonly overlooked is our shared desire to be treated with dignity

But what is dignity, exactly? Here’s the definition I found: “bearing, conduct or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.” In other words, being dignified means the ability to carry yourself well or respond to a situation appropriately coming from a foundation of self-respect.

Dignity also connects us to something equally as true about our shared humanity: when we don’t seek to honour each other, when we simply go through the motions and  “just pretend to love others” vs “really love them”, there’s an underlying awareness that our humanity is not being respected. It inflicts a subtle, yet palpable emotional wound that is hard to let go of. 

When we seek to honour and protect the dignity that we all deserve, we are actively acknowledging both God’s commandment to love one another and our very human desire to be treated as if we mattered. Recognition of our shared humanity – both our value and vulnerability – holds us responsible for how we treat one another. Once we accept that we are all part of the same human family—that we feel the same pain and the same joy—we might choose to start acting differently towards each other.

So today, before you speak, or before you act on something, take the necessary time to assess the situation, looking for the right words to speak or the right actions to take. Aim to be dignified in your conduct, in your speech, in your respect, and in your appreciation of others.

As always, the Word of God (Romans 12:9-18) says it best:

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 

Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope.

Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. 

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”

Until we meet again, I pray the Lord would teach us to be aware of who we are and who He’s called us to be. Let us respond to each situation in our lives. as He would. 

In Jesus’ name, 


May God’s Grace be with you.

Tracy B. Richards

By the way… here’s my business motto:

“Building a Culture of Strong Marriage, One Couple at a Time”

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