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Posts Tagged ‘ignorance’

Beauty-and-the-Beast1

Beauty and the Beast has been my personal favorite Disney story for many years now.  If you know my husband, it’s easy to see why I identify.  Kidding! Ok, maybe just a little truth there.

The truth is, about 20 years ago, we both started out as beasts.  It was nothing but the Lord who has made us more like the Beauty and less Beastly to one another over the course of time and trials.

A lot of reviews have already been written about this long-awaited real-life remake.  Rather than do that, I just want to focus on one particular aspect that many might miss if they are not paying attention.

Belle is trying to reason through how the living objects in the castle must feel about their sentence of not being human again.  She says something to the effect of, “I can see why he (the beast) deserved this, but you – you did nothing wrong.”

It is at that point that Mrs. Potts pipes up like only a talking tea kettle can do and, from my perspective, speaks the most important line of the entire movie.  She quickly responds without even a second to bask in the expected hesitation, groveling, or self-victimization and says, “You’re right deary, we did nothing…” (when the beast was but a boy grieving over the loss of his mother and became the victim of an abusive, self-absorbed father.)

There is so much to learn from the attitude that Mrs. Potts’ character displays in that one single exchange.  Here’s what we can take from it and perhaps teach our children:

Firstly, no matter what your circumstance or how desperately unfortunate it is, you must never think of yourself as a victim.  A victim mentality will always hurt you.  Personal responsibility and owning up to our own failures in all circumstances is the key to being a person of character.

Next, if it is clear that someone else has been dealt a very difficult hand, we must consider their stressors over their responsibilities and act appropriately towards them.

For ourselves, we overlook the reasons we have to claim a victim status and rise up responsibly.  For others, we look for those same reasons and empathize when they act irresponsibly.  We do not compare circumstances, ever.  We do not compare reactions, grief, or evaluate and/or determine how any other person should be dealing with their own circumstance from an emotional standpoint.  The most important thing to do is serve them.  That’s what Mrs. Potts does.  That’s what her child does.  And, while they do not always agree with or even obey the beast in his unkind and ridiculous demands, they always seek to serve and help him in ways that are beneficial to him.

Finally, Mrs. Potts’s profound statement teaches us the often neglected truth that what we do not do is just as damaging as what we do wrong.  She says, “We did nothing…” (when this little boy’s whole world fell apart.)

That was an admission of guilt – a taking part in the making of a self-centered, unkind, now cursed, beast.  What we do not do for those who we know are suffering and being abused right before our eyes is what will convict and condemn us right alongside them if and when they become beasts in their own right.

Again, this idea does not erase personal responsibility for the beasts of the world.  Each man is wholly responsible for his own actions, always.  What this perspective does is it helps us to understand and own our personal responsibility toward those in need – namely children within our sphere of influence – before they morph into individuals who kill, steal, and destroy just like their teachers.

In other words, we do not get to dislike and avoid people we do not prefer and then turn around and blame them because they are bitter about it.  Our job is to see only our own faults and look past the faults of others in as much as we possibly can and love and serve them despite those faults.

What a great perspective to have.

– Own responsibility no matter how difficult your circumstances.

– Empathize, don’t criticize when others fail.

– Recognize that doing nothing is just as damaging as doing wrong to others.

That’s as true as it can be.

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The worst thing about being a self-published, degree-less, amateur writer is the necessity to be one’s own editor.  This, by far, is the most humbling and awkward position for such a person to be in.  I’m not referring to petty spelling errors or the occasional typo (although those, too, can be quite embarrassing at times.)  No.  There are certain times where the truth becomes so crystal clear after the fact that a writer longs to obtain the magic cyber eraser from the sky and begin again.  But it doesn’t work that way now does it?  Consequently, the only solution is to either spend far more time thinking, praying, and fasting before pressing the fearful “publish” button, to return to the damaged article and correct it, or, to simply bite the bullet and draw the attention of your readers to the fact that you are the farthest thing from perfect that they have ever met…or read.

That said, my red pen is calling me this morning.  I cannot leave any room for doubt.  I must make some corrections in what I previously thought to be publishable.

To whom it may concern:

Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” 29 And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” 30 And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before. ~1 Samuel 17:28-30

Little baby brother is showing big tough front-line brother up.  Big tough front-line brother is mad.  He is mad because he is jealous, prideful, and insecure about his own failure to do that which baby brother has the courage to do.

The writer speaks of her own cowardice and shame concerning that which she is called by her Lord to do.  How many underdogs have quietly shown her up simply by showing up and doing God’s will without talking about it!  She is often beside herself with pride, anger, and jealousy.

Why did you come here small boy?  Just who do you think you are?  I’ll tell you what I think: you are nothing.  You probably left the one itty-bitty responsibility you had unattended.  I know you.  I know what is in your black heart.  You are bored.  You are lazy.  You are just looking for some action in your miserable, purposeless life.  You have no business here on my turf.  You are worthless; better yet, you are evil.  Go back where you came from, inferior.

In her pride, the writer often errs with harsh, repeated diatribes where she should instead be expressing humble gratitude, holy grace, and the deferential  sorrow over her own sin.

Eliab, in his unrighteous anger, used every angle he could find to discredit David.  He sought wholeheartedly to deny him the honor due him for his courage and hunger for righteousness.

The writer often wrongly believes that her anger is righteous and that others’ actions and speech are suspicious, unrighteous, and undeserving of honor.  Because of this, she discounts their efforts and replaces acclamation and thanks to God with disgust, rejection, and unbelief towards God and the people he has chosen to use for his glory.

Nevertheless, David was obedient.  He was zealous for the Lord.  He was courageous, fearless, and wise even despite the towering foe he knew he was about to face and the pain of his brother’s injurious accusations.

Despite all the writer’s sin and suspicion, Jesus was obedient.  He was zealous, courageous, fearless, and wise in her stead.  Jesus paid no mind to Lori’s ridiculous demeanor.

Eliab would not hear of it.  He made sure his false accusations and unfounded charges were loud and clear.  He tells David he is presumptuous as he himself stands presuming upon his innocent brother.

There was no shortage of presumption or accusation.  The writer not only failed to appreciate her brother’s grace, she accused him of that which she was guilty.

David is not fazed.  David answers softly and turns around.  He continues about his Father’s business.  Consider, though, that there are quite a lot of things David could have said or done to defend himself.

Jesus was not fazed by Lori’s absurdity.  Jesus ignored her bogus rants.  He did all that the Father commanded him – for her.  Imagine what she really deserved…

He could have argued.  He could have cried.  He could have owned it.  He could have gone back home.  He could have clocked his brother a good one.  He could have reciprocated his brother’s false accusations.  Doubtless, there are countless ways David could have returned evil for evil.  None of them,however, would result in giving glory to God.

Jesus annihilated the writer with his wit and wisdom.  He wept for her condemned condition.  He owned her sin completely.  He refused to go back home without her.  He crushed her by falling upon her like a stone.  He never accused her.  He uses her imperfections to glorify God.

The bottom line is, David had bigger fish to fry and he knew it.  He’s got no time for this kind of infantile tomfoolery.  David was interested in only one thing – the Lord’s will.  He knew it was not his reputation that was ultimately at stake here; it was the Lord’s!  How important it was for him to overlook the insults being hurled at him and turn away from that mess.  Therefore, he was wise.  He was patient.  He was forgiving.  Such things are apparent by the way he held his peace (save a question or two about the validity of the charges) and, in doing so, kept his peace.

Jesus has a plan that far exceeds any error the writer can make.  He does not let her stupidity slow down his sanctification in her.  He has only one goal – conforming Lori to himself.  He is not concerned in the least with what this means in regards to her reputation; He is concerned about his beautiful child and his worthy Name.  He disregards her foolish, blatant, repeated errors and he allows his flawless wisdom, patience, and forgiveness to reign over her with peace.  He questions her softly and, in his kind mercy and gentle grace, convicts her of the sin she holds most tightly onto.

Likewise, Matthew Henry writes, “Those that undertake great and public services must not think it strange if they be discountenanced and opposed by those from whom they had reason to expect support and assistance; but must humbly go on with their work, in the face not only of their enemies’ threats, but of their friends’ slights and suspicions.”

Will walker writes, “Through a variety of means, Satan attacks our children at the level of their identity and purpose. If he can get them to believe that they are nothing more than a sinner (a message propagated through much of the evangelical church), then he can render them useless in the mission of God.” Lord, let it never be said of me again!

The writer offers extensive apologies for her dullness and ignorance.  If there is room in your heart to be like unto her Savior, please forgive her.  May his face shine upon you, be gracious unto you, and give you peace.  Amen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIRk5bebycI

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In Job chapter 37, Elihu goes on to expound upon God’s greatness.  His goal?  Help Job recognize his own ignorance, the right, and the reign of his Creator in all things.

“At this also my heart trembles
    and leaps out of its place.
2 Keep listening to the thunder of his voice
    and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
3 Under the whole heaven he lets it go,
    and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
4 After it his voice roars;
    he thunders with his majestic voice,
    and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.
5 God thunders wondrously with his voice;
    he does great things that we cannot comprehend. ~Job 37:1-5

Elihu begins by stating carefully his own fear of God.  He describes the hand of God in nature – in humanity, in the animal kingdom, in the weather.

But didn’t Job know this already?  Hadn’t he displayed a great and holy fear of God in his own life through faithfulness, service, and obedience?

He had.  But Elihu points to what was lacking in that faithfulness, service, and obedience.

“…he does great things that we cannot comprehend.”

Job, in his misery, had exchanged his fear of God for a desperate desire to understand.  He knew God was sovereign.  He believed God was in control.  Job just couldn’t stop questioning God’s methods.  Job wasn’t sure if the God in whom he wholly believed was wholly believable.  He wondered where God’s compassion for him lie and he raised more than a little doubt about the goodness of the motives underlying God’s providence.

Guilty.  Guilty.  Guilty.  Guilty.  Guilty.  On all charges, I’m with you Job.  I have spent my entire life wondering where God really is, who he really is, and what he is really doing.  Of course I believe in him.  Often, I just do not believe him.  That’s a problem.  Father, forgive me, I know not what I do, or worse, I do know.

“It is good for us to be made sensible of our own ignorance,” once said Matthew Henry.  Elihu is good for that.  Thank God for people like him.

In verses 13-24 of Job 37, Elihu cross-examines Job.  His speech goes a little something like this: God has a plan, Job.  Sometimes it is to correct men.  Sometimes it is to bless them.  Sometimes it is simply to display his great love.  How could you possibly know what God is doing all the time?  Do you know how he commands the clouds?  Do you understand how he makes lightning?  Can you do all that he does?

No. No. No. No. No, you cannot.  So why do you think #1. you deserve to and #2. you are able to understand what God is doing to or through your own life?  You are a debtor, Job, but God loves you anyway.  All that he does is out of love for you.  You neither deserve nor are able to understand these things.  Stop trying.  God opposes the proud.

He loved me ere I knew him, and all my love is due him.  Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.  Despite all I do not know, this is enough.  Understanding can wait for glory.  Right now, I have an all-consuming call from and an insurmountable debt to my Savior concerning love.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6C4_hp7RG8

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