Thursday, July 05, 2012

If You are Slighted...

Our friend, the late Frank Green, and my husband and I went to a Houston truck show. We found out right away, that Frank didn’t dawdle. He would briefly look at the newest chrome gadgets, tire gauges, and Cheetah bead setters (ask a tire man) and then he would shoo us to next display by saying, “And moving right along.”

            That’s what we’re doing in this column today, we’re “moving right along” to Jeremy Taylor’s rule number eleven for attaining humility. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’ve devoted the fifty-two columns for 2012 to the subject of humble living. We’re loosely using nineteen rules written by Taylor (1613-1667).  So far, we’ve considered seven of them.

            We’re skipping numbers eight, nine, and ten because they’re repetitive. They give suggestions for keeping a good name, accepting praise, and avoiding power play in conversations. We have discussed those when we looked at the first seven rules. Today, we consider number eleven in the language of Taylor’s day:

            Make no suppletories to thyself, when thou art disgraced or slighted, by pleasing thyself with supposing thou didest deserve praise, though they understood thee not, or enviously detracted from thee.” The rest of Taylor’s “thee” and “thou” rule states: “[N]either do thou get to thyself a private theatre and flatterers, in whose vain noises and fantastie praises thou mayest keep up thine own good opinion of thyself.”

               You are a bright reading audience and don’t need that explained, but I have article space that needs filling, so here’s the gist. Do not get huffy when others slight you because each of us has slighted others, too. We’ve all experienced times when people talked down to us or shunned our company because they think themselves better, and we’ve done it too. Some folks think they have colossal gray matter and treat supposed pea-brained people disrespectfully.

               It happens. Don’t take offense. Err on the side of grace. So-called pea-brains can experience personal growth if they don’t climb into the arena to spar or gather their posse for a “praise me” session. I know it’s difficult to remain open-minded during a snub or slight. If someone talks down to me, I want to tattletale to my husband. I want an affirmative pat or hug to bandage my bruised ego. I want to lick my wound.

               These wounds and slights can occur between family, acquaintances, or strangers. In interchanges between strangers, no intimate knowledge of the other person exists. The crux of that problem is that neither party knows if the other is having a bad day or a bad life. I have come to the belief that we rarely make fair judgments of others. In fact, when people complain to me about things, I’ve learned to acknowledge their pain and say, “It’s difficult.” But at some time in the conversation, I express that it’s up to God to sort the good, the bad, and the ugly. One scripture reminds me that only God knows every iota of our existence. “[God] knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). God knows frail when he sees it, and he sees plenty of it in me.  

               God remains the only one who can accurately judge. He alone knows our lovely or horrific upbringings, our failures, our triumphs, our poverties, our privileges, or our handicaps or abilities. He knows the silt and sand that makes up our hearts.

               When a person is slighted, the main thing restraint on their part does is to deliver time for contemplation. If that person does not tattle or seek favor from those closest to them, the incident most likely stays in their mind for a while, but it can turn into teachable moments when God can guide the person to self-contemplation. This week if you’re bumped from the bench of high-and-mighty by someone who is holier-than-thou, take a good look inside your own heart. Ask God for revelation into the depths of your attitudes toward others.

               May Holy God assist us as we “move right along” the path to humility as we recognize that he created all of us in his image to act in his name to carry out his innate goodness. 

               Hunger for Humility (27): “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).



  1. Anonymous11:10 AM

    "God knows frail when he sees it, and he sees plenty of it in me."

    Loved this! Stopping by from the CLASSeminars link up on FB.

  2. Thanks for stopping by. Wasn't the CLASSeminar link fun? Met so many lovely people. Blessings.