One of our Sunday Discussions was about the ethical principles of relationships. Love should be expressed in justice, because if it is love, it is just.
Mutuality – consent is one of the foundations of a relationship. It is the primary foundation. Without it, there is no relationship at all. At the same time relationships are more than just consent. It is about shared feelings, visions, goals and the common good for all persons involved in the relationship.
Fidelity – keeping and upholding what has been mutually agreed upon. Fidelity also means honestly talking about such terms and agreements, assessing them if necessary and together modifying them, if needed. Trust springs forth from fidelity and is sustained by it.
Commitment – there is no relationship, whatever it is, that does not have commitment. Commitment is the intentional and active living out of the relationship and its agreed upon dynamics. Relationships cannot simply be mouthing of words.
Respect – is the regard and acknowledgement of the other person, especially her or his inherent dignity as a human being. This would include the regard for the person’s unique attributes, personal space, perspectives, experiences, current context, limitations and imperfections.
Equal and Equitable – that there is fairness in the relationship especially in the power to decide and act on all matters affecting the relationship and the people involved. Equitability is also fairness but taking into context particular conditions and situations of the individuals in the relationship. No one is dominated upon, abused, manipulated, suppressed or over powered. No one is treated unfairly and a healthy power dynamics in the relationship exist with intentionality.
How then, are these things fall into the realm of ethics?
The above are the consideration by which we determine what are the specific dos and donts in our relationships.
More importantly, they are the principles or values by which we put into great consideration our attitudes, decisions and words in creating, sustaining and even in breaking our relationships, whatever kind of relationship they may be.
And these things are also applicable in the dynamics of church community, network building and advocacies; on how we relate to each other as church workers, activists and as partner organizations or churches.