Chasten

Chasten: (v) to reprove

There are things that work and there are things that don’t.

Perhaps one of the most misleading ideas promoted in our society is the notion that a thousand paths lead to the same singular destination.
This has caused us to believe that we can ignore the wisdom of time and forge our own thoroughfare–and as long as we get “somewhere near it,” we’ve done a good thing by being independent.

Independence is over-rated. More often than not, it’s permission to fail instead of succeed–because leaving the sanctity of good counsel to prove your autonomy usually comes with a bundle of extra problems which have to be explained away later, as you cautiously tout your victory.

But let’s make three things clear:

1. Complaining is not chastening.

Human beings should not have to endure the incessant repetition of a grouchy spirit hounding them over their actions.

2. Assuming is not chastening.

Trying to take on the profile of “the gentle soul” who innocently assumes everyone knows the truth of the matter is often useless and can be vindictive if the silence causes another soul pain.

3. Prejudice is not chastening.

Asking a black man to hold his tongue because he’s “the son of Cain” and therefore not as worthy as white people is not a rebuke granting growth, but instead, instilling inferiority and fear.

Chastening is understanding what needs to be done–seeing that someone has taken a faulty turn and correcting him or her before the misstep turns into a tumble.

It must always be done in love, it must always be done quickly, and it must always be drenched in mercy and grace.

 

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Backlash

Backlash (n) a strong and adverse reaction by a large number of people, especially to a social or political development.

“Racism is back.”Dictionary B

That’s what I heard somebody say in a news report yesterday.

You see, racism never goes away because of two simple problems:

  1. Human beings are marred by the need to be better than someone else.
  2. Since this is true, no one will let you be better than them.

Thus racism.

So racism is a backlash against failing to deal with your own insecurities. If you are able to admit where you are uncertain about your own abilities and start a vigil of effort to improve your situation, you are much too busy to worry about the color of skin, the curve of a nose or the slant of an eye.

But if you feel that the definition of fairness is, “I should be fine the way I am,” then you will look for ways to diminish your competition in order to adequately uplift your mediocrity.

Here’s the truth: the white plantation owners couldn’t get their family, children and friends to bear the heat of the day to pick a cotton crop. Call it laziness or poor genetic engineering.

So they created a whole philosophy around the inferiority of the black man because of the inability to take care of their own business.

Then they punished the black man because he did the work they were unable to achieve and survived the punishment without striking back and killing them.

So what am I saying?

Racism is jealousy hidden behind superiority. “We just can’t get it done.”

It is the backlash we levy against an innocent party.

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Aggravate

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAggravate: (v) 1. to make a problem injury, offense or situation worse 2. to annoy or exasperate

It takes two sticks rubbed together to create a fire.

At least, that’s what I hear. Having never actually used that method to generate the friction, I’m not certain it’s true, but I have no reason to question it.

I do get aggravated. When I calm myself down and think about what caused my aggravation, I realize it’s always one stick that I brought and another stick brought by somebody else.

The main stick I bring to create aggravation is always insecurity. It would be difficult for me to notice when I was being mistreated unless there’s a part of me that’s looking for it.

The people who aggravate me are individuals who bring their own insecurity my direction, and I begin to rub my stick of inferiority against them, resulting in fiery disagreement.

Why am I insecure? Here are three reasons:

1. I need too much. I have plenty, but rather than reveling in my abundance, I look over the shoulder of my benefactor to see if there’s more coming. What an idiot.

2. Part of me is not happy unless others have less. It hurts me to even write these words down–but there is a childish little boy inside me, who sometimes hopes that I end up with one more than my friends.

3. I believe in a God I don’t always trust. My prayers of politeness are not stimulated from my soul of belief. I am not always convinced that my “Father which art in Heaven” is willing to get off His throne and come to my house.

You put these three together and you have a stick up your rear that’s ready to be rubbed against somebody else’s inconsistency to create aggravation. And aggravation is the siphon that sucks all the fuel and potential out of human talent.

How can I stop feeling insecure? There is an old hymn which affords us an answer:

Count your blessings                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Name them one by one…”

Every time I do this, I am nearly embarrassed by the bounty provided for me–by God, life, my friends and my own abilities. It chases away my insecurity.

At that point, it is very difficult for me to become aggravated because I have no stick to rub.

May I remind myself of this today … and begin the count.

Against

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Against: (prep.) 1. n opposition to: e.g. the fight against crime 2. in physical contact with: e.g. her back was against the door

I hate malaise.

Malaise is when compromise has left behind a by-product that does not resemble anything we set out to achieve.

Now, I understand the need to collaborate and blend. What I don’t like is losing sight of the beauty of an idea simply to adjourn a meeting to go out for drinks with your buddies.

Occasionally I will get a very astute and intelligent agnostic or atheist, who will ask me how I can maintain belief in a Divine Being, with my level of intelligence. I know they feel they are complimenting me, but they fail to realize that there are certain precepts necessary to energize the human family which cannot be manufactured in the brain of even the most enlightened homo sapien.

Do we need a God to remind us of the god that has been breathed into us, making us aware that we need to be god to one another?

Honestly, even though the Good Book is a very large volume, there are only half a dozen or so ideas within it which set it apart from the average encyclopedia of information, making it eternal rather than a temporary addition to the Best Sellers List. One of those ideas is the concept that “those who are not against us are for us.”

I could never follow a spiritual principle that chose up sides like nasty children on the playground trying to alienate others. I can’t be part of a religion that speculates on the inferiority of others, to further uphold their own superiority.

I love the notion that life is about finding reasons for people to agree with me instead of establishing boundaries for feuds.

I can walk into any room and within ten minutes, uncover areas of mutual fellowship with almost anyone. I suppose if I want to focus on the things I have against them or they against me, we could separate ourselves from one another and be enemies. But having the heartfelt inclination to find points where strangers are the same as me is such an inspired piece of heavenly legislation that I MUST run to the polls and give it my vote.

Those who are not against us are for us.

Nothing progresses in the human circle until we sit down and decide what we want to have for dinner by finding out what we all like. Because forcing peas and carrots on the young ones never turns them into vegetable eaters. Matter of fact, it may turn them into opponents of everything that grows out of the ground.

“Against” is a popular word nowadays. It is the way we define our uniqueness.

Unfortunately, if we continue to pursue it … it may also end up being our epitaph.