Reverence refers to a feeling or an attitude of profound respect towards a person, group, or situation. Reverence is a virtue infused in an individual. It allows us to act with respect to all that we meet in the course of our lives. Reverence advocates for a harmonious living among people because it guides us on how we relate with other people and the respect we have for people and things.
Reverence is evident in actions of an individual when he or she relates with others. Actions that indicate reverence in me are respect for other people, admiration for others’ achievements, devotion to religious practices, veneration, and honor. Actions that indicate irreverence can be disdaining, scorning, contempt, disobedience, and selfishness. Such qualities make an individual irreverent because they do not advocate for a virtuous way of living and relating with other people. The qualities are considered vices in the face of the society and do not promote harmonious living.
I did a two-day experiment to determine the role of reverence in life. I started with various questions that required critically analyzed answers to ascertain the role that reverence plays in the society. At the end of the experiment, I concluded that reverence comes from deep within an individual because it may require years of practice, and this makes it different from rituals and mere respect. Years of practice of the virtue of reverence make it difficult to fake it; it comes naturally from within an individual. It promotes harmony in the society; and hence, it is considered a virtue compared to its opposite that promotes hatred and division. Respecting other people indicates the level of appreciation an individual can accord others. In the two days of experimenting, I found that once I showed respect to other people they automatically reciprocate the same and become cooperative. By not respecting others one interacts with is wrong because it indicates the level of contempt the person holds inside. Expressing awe on the achievement of others is a personal feeling that does not necessarily come out in every individual. The expression differs from one person to another as individuals view achievements differently; therefore, it is not wrong to fail to express awe for or about things.
Reverence is a virtue, and a virtue can never be appropriate under any circumstances because it appreciates others in the society. Different cultures all over the world perceive good mannerism, respect, and honesty as virtues that promote peace in the society. The virtues form the core values that influence and determine the level of reverence in a person. Reverence comes out as an expression of humility and dependency that appreciates the splendor and beauty existing in the world. Reverent people tend to seek greater things and achievements raising their personal desire to find fulfillment in their lives.
I show reverence when I relate with other people at home and work. I am also reverent in the way I carry myself in divine situations. When dealing with other people, I realize the need to humble myself in recognition of those better than I. Reverence comes out as an emotion that can portray itself outside of religious contexts. It comes as a feeling of engagement and responsibility that one has towards those people and things that they revere. Reverence guides rituals because they provide enabling environment for people to feel reverence. A church or a formal meeting provides a setting that enables me to feel and show reverence to those in attendance. For instance, I pull chairs, arrange writing materials, and listen to people when they speak to me. True reverence is an aspect beyond the control of human beings. It cannot be faked at any time. Reverence focuses on the ideals of humanity that transcend beyond the scope of human beings.
The relation between a person and God is believed to define how we relate with others. Society that instills the fear of God to its members ends up cultivating the virtue of reverence in them. There exists no difference on how people relate with God and fellowmen. Reverence can be instilled in people when they are young and they will have it for their entire lives. Reverence is related to other virtues of humility, honesty, and respect. These virtues provide reverence with the necessary foundation to be professed in individuals. There cannot be reverence without the virtues of respect, honesty, and humility because they define and augment reverence. Reverence enables individuals to be respectful and honest in their deeds since it also means people respecting themselves as individuals.
An assumption widely acknowledged in the society associates reverence with religion. The society ignores the role of reverence outside religious places and events. Reverence can easily relate to all thoughts of an individual. Thoughts guide individuals to aspire to achieve greater things in life. Reverence creates a self-belief in an individual and guides his or her daily actions. Another assumption is that to be revered in the society, one need to be special. The question is: how can someone be special? There are no metrics to measure how special an individual is. Reverence requires individuals to be respectful to all cadres of people in the society. We should appreciate everyone that we interact with in our daily routines. Reverence requires a personal commitment in an individual to act in a communally acceptable manner that acknowledges the great things and other people in the society. Reverence needs not to be confused with fear because people often think that those revered are equally feared. It is a personal obligation to act in a manner that portrays reverence. Self-centeredness only serves to drive up irreverent in the society because individuals decide to take actions that promote their wellbeing at the expense of others. Social scientists believe that it is the nature of man to think of ‘self’ first then others later.
Many people argue that the contemporary society and cultures have forgotten about reverence as a virtue that guides humanity. This argument is shallow because it bases the reasoning of the society as an entity and avoids looking at the issue as an individual’s initiative and behavior. Individualization and self-centeredness prevailing in the society only serves to promote vices that are against reverence. Reverence, as a virtue, cannot be found only in formal titles, formal rituals such as those in a church, traditional and contemporary settings. It is an attitude developed from within an individual. Every distinct culture needs to discover and develop ways of fostering reverence among its people. Individuals from a tender age can easily uphold reverence as it allows them to grow up appreciating respectable deeds in the society. Each individual needs to task him or herself with establishing and nurturing reverence in the society that we live in because it will improve how people relate.
Individuals need to tap into their personal experiences about reverence. They must reflect on the contemplative awe moments, and interrogate their decisions and choices. An explanation of reverence becomes helpful when measured through personal experiences. Each individual can recall a personal experience that required reverence. It is upon mindful among us to sustain reverence in our choice of words and deeds. Reverence comes out as a disposition of the heart that enables people to live before all the beauty and goodness the world has to offer.