A “bill of rights” is a formal summary of those rights and liberties considered essential to a people or group of people. Most countries have a bill of rights. As Christians who desire to love others well we need a “bill of responsibilities”. Regardless of how we feel about another person they are made in the image of God and thus are of great value and worth. We need to treat people with that value and worth.
Here is an example of a “Bill of responsibilities” from Scazzero’s book “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” (pg. 188-189):
Respect means I give myself and others the right to:
- Space and privacy (i.e. knocking on doors before entering, not opening one another’s mail, respecting each other’s needs for quiet and space.)
- Be different (i.e. allowing preferences for food, movies, volume of music, and how we spend our time.)
- Disagree (i.e. making room for each person to think and see life differently.)
- Be heard (i.e. listening to each other’s desires, opinions, thoughts, feelings, etc.)
- Be taken seriously (i.e. listening and being present to one another.)
- Be given the benefit of the doubt (i.e. checking out assumptions rather than judging one another when misunderstandings arise.)
- Be told the truth (i.e. counting on the truth when asking each other for information.)
- Be consulted (i.e. checking and asking when decisions will affect others.)
- Be imperfect and make mistakes (i.e. leaving “room” for breaking things, forgetting things, letting each other down unintentionally, etc. )
- Courteous and honourable treatment (i.e. using words that don’t hurt, ask before using, consulting when appropriate.)
- Be respected (i.e. taking one another’s feelings into account.)
Up to this point, I haven’t written out a formal “Bill of responsibilities” like this. I need to sit down with my family and come up with our OWN. There will probably be things that we add and we may not use all of these suggestions. The point here is to come up with your own “Bill of responsibilities” that you will live by. I see great value in this.
What would you include in your “bill of rights”?
***** EDIT Peter P made a great comment on this post about the use of word “right.” Click here to read it. As a result, I am changing my wording from “Bill of Rights” to “Bill of Responsibilities.” I believe this better reflects what I am trying to get across with this life skill.