Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Self-contempt

weapons of warfare

intention to harm
shot from loaded heart and tongue
backfires brilliantly
exposing raw self-contempt
seething beneath thin skin

What will it take to give us, as a nation, eyes to see beneath the surface of bully tactics?

The best solution I’ve found is to stand before the mirror of my loaded heart and tongue. I’m still learning to acknowledge, comfort and care for deep wounds inflicted upon me by others and by myself. The cost, however, is high. I have to let others in, allowing them to see and love me in my self-contempt, sometimes showing me how it’s done.

Is this lifetime skill of loving ourselves as damaged yet unspeakably valuable persons modeled in our homes, our churches, our schools? Do we know how to see into bullies without being hooked by their bows, arrows and buckshot ways? Do we know how to value them without giving up the duty of holding them accountable for the harm they do us and others? No matter who they are?

Our nation is drowning in an epidemic self-contempt raging across every boundary on our maps. It festers and erupts within national and state politics, and within the homes and streets of our neighborhoods. Directly and indirectly it fuels every shot of every firearm ever invented. How do we address this crisis? Or even begin to acknowledge it as a national emergency that touches each of us, whether we realize it or not.

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 3 November 2017
Image found at theodysseyonline.com

Daily Prompt: Simmer, Neighbors

What’s on my heart today

Self-contempt feeds on every critique
positive or negative,
savors and loathes it simultaneously,
then dishes it up in return
or swallows it
disguised as something I deserve or need.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I see us as a society increasingly filled with self-loathing. One give-away is contempt for others. So easy to deliver, even though every dose administered to someone else could be a sign of self-contempt.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I don’t know. I do know we seem increasingly addicted to harsh criticism. Sometimes it’s blatant. Often, however, it’s disguised as humor.

Perhaps humor is our favored remedy for damage done to us every time we’ve been treated with contempt. Especially by people with greater authority, power, stature or privileges than our own.

Sometimes it seems my entire life is about recovery from self-contempt. One thing I know: I won’t solve the ache in me by holding others in contempt. The only thing that helps is to look in the mirror when I feel contemptuous, or give contempt free rein with my sharp tongue.

  • Where did that come from?
  • Why does it seem to give me satisfaction?
  • Whose voice is that, anyway?
  • Where have I heard those words before?
  • What does my wounded spirit need from me right now?

The temptation to be contemptuous of others is powerful. Make a snider remark than he or she did! Get known as someone great who commands the stage of contemptuous put-downs! Alternatively, learn to deliver contempt thinly disguised as ‘constructive criticism’ or ‘feedback.’

Well, that’s not the best thing about today. But it’s what’s on my heart right now. The best thing would be the sun shining outside, the too-early fall respite from hot weather, and you showing up today! Thanks for reading.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 1 September 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Critical

The Face of Contempt | Part 2 of 2

Self-contempt has been my primary issue for years.  Until I learned to have compassion on myself, it was almost impossible not to have contempt for others.  Here’s what self-contempt has looked like Read the rest of this entry »

The Face of Contempt | Part 1

Contempt – intrusive, ever-present, almost impossible to pin down.  But that’s exactly why I need to talk about it.

After several false starts, Read the rest of this entry »

Snatching Hope from the Wicked

Dawn's Place, new logoIt isn’t easy to snatch hope from the wicked.  Just ask the women of Dawn’s Place.  They know what it takes.  So does the woman in Psalm 112.

* * *

I’ve re-worded Psalm 112 for women, with major thanks to Rabbi Aaron Lichtenstein’s plain English translation of all the Psalms, and a nod to the Good News Bible’s plain English translation of the Bible.

Psalm 112

Praise the Lord!

Happy is any woman who fears the Lord and loves the Lord’s precepts,
She will be a heroine, as will her children;
In a time of prosperity, her home will abound with wealth,
while her honesty is well known.

There is a light in the darkness for the trustworthy woman,
who remains compassionate, merciful, and forthright;
Who gladly gives a loan while claiming no more than she is due,
so that she will never fail and will be recognized as reliable.

She will not worry about a sudden crash, but keeps her faith in God.
Nobody can unnerve her, and her opponents soon turn and withdraw.

Through regular generosity to the needy she attains a place of honor,
while the wicked stare in frustration, gritting their teeth in dismay.
Their hopes are gone forever.

* * * * *

Psalm 112 ends with the wicked, but it focuses on the woman whose daily life frustrates the wicked. She doesn’t take them on directly, but lives and breathes truth and hope to her family and her neighbors, including the stranger in her back yard.

The wicked have contempt for truth. They prefer big fat lies, false promises, fear and apathy. They want this woman to look the other way or pass by without noticing the needy human being in front of her. Someone’s child or a neighbor who needs compassion, kindness, forthrightness, generosity.

The wicked call out:

  • Follow me!  I’ll be your best friend forever!
  • You’re special!  You deserve to be happy, well-educated, treated with dignity, rich, adored and appreciated.
  • Whatever your goals, I can help you meet them. No strings attached!
  • You know, I really respect you.  I’m not like other men.  Trust me.

They lure their prey, then deliver sudden death—like ravenous lions crouching at the door.

I want to snatch hope, piece by piece, from the smirking, lusting deceptively attractive jaws of the wicked. This Psalm shows me what it takes. It invites me to follow the way of this godly woman, to make a difference–now and for the future.

Not everyone agrees, especially when it comes to human trafficking.

  • What makes you think you can make a difference? This isn’t going away!
  • That’s just the way it is, honey.   Get over it!
  • Why throw away your life energy, limited time, precious money and your already bruised reputation?
  • Get real! If you think you’re making progress right here, it’s just going to pop up over there!

Lies.  All lies.

Truth #1
If you or I touch the life of just one trafficked or at-risk person, that’s more than enough!

We’re not called to save the world. We’re called to get off our butts!  Get interested.  Listen and learn.  Pray.  Give.  Take a risk!  Make a ruckus! Show one needy person that you care. Refuse to look the other way!

Truth #2
Sometimes we think this is about them—the women, children and men being trafficked daily. It is about them; it’s also about us.

We’re all damaged goods.  Damaged by contempt others have for us, and by our own contempt for ourselves and others. Human trafficking thrives on contempt for God’s creatures.

In the end, we need each other. Their stories remind us of our own need for healing, especially sexual healing. Telling our stories to each other brings the truth into light. The truth about us, not just about them.

Truth #3
Ultimately, this is God’s battle. Yet like God, Moses and the Hebrew slaves, there’s no delivery from human slavery unless we do our part. Perhaps we think we have nothing to offer, or that our friend over there is better suited for this battle!  Not so.

In the end, God calls each of us to BE hope, not just to ‘have’ hope or ‘talk about,’ ‘reflect upon’ or even read another book about hope.

In fact, we might also be surprised by hope! Our hidden hopelessness needs the bright light of truth, grace and healing. Healing begins when our stories connect with the stories of others. Especially the stories of women, men and children at risk of being bought, sold, used, abused, damaged, forgotten and discarded.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 8 March 2014
First presented to a gathering of women in December 2013
Image: Dawn’s Place logo

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