Thursday, February 4, 2010
What timing for our next chapter review in "Leaning Into God When Life Is Pushing You Away"! Our discussion on my husband's book now takes us to "Finding Freedom When Isolated Through Humiliation." According to the dictionary the definition of humiliation is "reducing or lowering one's position in their own eyes or in the eyes of others." Further, the act of trying to humiliate someone can be extremely destructive to one's self-respect and dignity.
Maybe you read one of the twenty or so recent press releases issued by the Crystal Cathedral just a few days ago? Ironically this deluge of several derogitory interviews and stories started on my birthday, January 29th, and ran through the weekend! If you caught any of these stories you might have picked up on some rather disparaging remarks being slung around regarding my husband, Robert. One of our friends on the East Coast emailed us an article from the New York Times along with the comment, "They sure threw you under the bus!"
Figuratively speaking, of course, there will always be those people who want to throw us under the bus, feed us to the sharks, or dump us into a deep well to get rid of us (as did Joseph's brothers in the Old Testament story). The important thing to ask yourself is "when these injustices happen to me, how am I going to react?" I would be dishonest if I didn't tell you that after I read the articles I wanted to "set the record straight" for the many misrepresentations that were quoted in some of the articles. I wanted to scream, "leave my husband out of your mess... we have moved on!" I wanted to dig through our records to provide proof that my husband had nothing to do with the downturn of what was once a very successful Christian ministry. I wanted to share with the world some of the thousands of sad letters and comments that have arrived for us over the past year and a half via email and the U.S. post office. I was so angry because I felt that once again Robert had been unjustly accused in an attempt to humiliate him. Only a few days prior Robert's good news that his new program, "Everyday Life" had been nominated for a MovieGuide Award was announced. For hours I contemplated revenge and my mind was filled with frustration and thoughts of getting back at the people who continue to try to hurt us. The good news is this: I did not do any of the above... nor will I. Instead I went outside the next morning and I did what I always do. I read my Bible and I prayed. I read half of Psalm 119 one day and the other half the next. I meditated on verses such as: 22-24 "Remove me from scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes. Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. Your statutes are my delight. They are my counselors." And verses 69, and 70, "Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law. "
The truth is the more I think about humiliation the more I conclude that no one can humiliate you without your permission. The great psychologist and holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl experienced the worst kind of humiliation through his near death experience in the concentration camp. Through all his suffering and pain he practiced as part of what he later taught in his "logotherapy" "you can take everything away from me but you can never take away my freedom of how I will react".
We read in the new testament, "It is for freedom the Christ has set us Free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery...You my brothers, were called to be free." Galatians 5:1, 13 Yes, we are free to decide how we will react to people's attempt to humiliate us. They cannot enslave us by forcing us to react the way they want us to. My husband ends the chapter by saying that the last thing in the world you want to do when you have been humiliated is to disconnect from God and his truth. Indeed you want to do what Jesus did in the day of his own humiliation--entrust yourself to God: "when they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." 1 Peter 2:23
Maybe you have felt humiliated over the loss of a marriage, a job, your health, or your reputation. Or perhaps you have been made a scapegoat as a result of another person's mistake. Although these situations can be painful and you will need to go through a season of healthy grief, remember in the end that Christ has set you free. With God's help and through prayer, you decide how you will react to life's ups and downs. Entrust your lives to Him and remember that God is blessing you always! Donna