Monday, May 14, 2018

When Dissed, Deflate

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       Have you ever watched a child, not yours of course, disrespect a parent or an adult? Maybe you smile it away, but inside you probably want to step in and say, "Hey, want me to handle this? Please, let me handle this."
       There's something about disrespect that's different. We can excuse a mistake, but disrespect is not a mistake. It seems to reveal a superior attitude, a self-promoting, judgmental, dirty little heart. Was I too strong there? Well, if I was, then answer me this. How do you feel when you're disrespected?  Look, I'm not having a Carly Simon moment. I don't think you're vain. This article isn't about you, but I want to ask you. How do you feel when you're disrespected, and how should you feel?
       So, I was sitting here in my study thinking about a situation and I felt disrespected. I had a little conversation with myself (not out loud, since that can get you in trouble). I started having a self-protecting, self-justifying conversation. You know how it goes. No one is there but you, but you're more than enough to form a committee and justify yourself. In the middle of all of this a question came to my mind, "Why don't you just deflate your self-importance?'
       I paused, and then immediately thought, "The problem isn't the disrespect I perceive from others. The problem is my inflated sense of self-worth." Once again, you may disagree with me, but hear me out. As I pondered that thought, I thought about Jesus. I don't have the greatest memory in the world, but I just couldn't remember a single time he ever said to someone, "You will NOT talk to me like that!"  Yes, he rebuked Peter when he tried to get him to avoid the cross, but Jesus was not self-defensive of his ego.
       Then I remembered the letter Paul wrote to the disciples in Philippi, and that passage in chapter 2 that says,  "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves." Well, that's certainly deflating to my offended ego. "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the from of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men."
       There it is. It appears that even when Jesus was disrespected, it didn't affect his worth. He had already deflated himself, since he had no need to inflate himself. He is not only love embodied, but humility epitomized. And, it seems the Holy Spirit was saying to me that when I am offended by disrespect, I should take the opportunity to recognize my own over-blown sense of worth. I should recognize my pride and give God thanks for the opportunity to deflate myself, since my goal is to be like Christ Jesus; Jesus who, though God, laid off the glory of Heaven to put on flesh.
       The next time you hear a kid speak disrespectfully to a parent, they may need severe discipline. But, so may you. The next time someone disses you, they may be wrong. But, you may simply need to deflate that pride.

PHOTO: The photo of the upset Capucin was taken by Encarma Saez Gonalons & Victor Martinez Moll, and has been modified. It is used as public domain, and its use does not indicate that they agree or disagree with this article.