Recently on my Facebook page (my personal page, not my ministry page), I posted something that while receiving confirmation from some, was offensive to others.
If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.
I never intended to insult or offend anyone, and never even thought that anyone would feel that way since I was talking about how I feel.
Now, having learned something from that experience, I want to make sure I make this disclaimer: to those who may be reading this and recognize themselves, please do not take this as a chiding or insult or even meant to be about you, personally- it was the nature of your response which made me realize something about offending statements and humility, which is the other side of the coin from pridefulness. So, instead of feeling offended, again, please take this message as nothing more than what I think I have learned about myself.
So, what happened? I wrote how I don’t like hearing something that everyone is saying today, which reminds me of the movie “Demolition Man.” If you haven’t seen that movie, it is about a future despotic government run by a megalomaniac who is forcing people to live to his standards of social interaction. One of the things that they do is, upon greeting each other, say “Be well, Steven Bruck” and there is no physical contact allowed.
It is “Be well” saying hello and “Be well” saying goodbye, and so sickeningly sweet it makes you want to puke. What really gets my goat is that in the movie you can see that they say it without genuine feeling but as a conditioned response, which is the result of the government telling them how they should be.
My complaint was that I have been hearing people say “Be safe” whenever someone says they are going somewhere, as well as all over the TV and radio. This is, to me, just like what I see in the movie: we say it because we think we mean it, but in truth, we are being conditioned by the powers-that-be to create an environment where everyone is constantly forced to remember that there is a disease on the loose.
As I said in my post, I do appreciate it when people care about me and stated that I feel the term “Be safe” has become so passé that I prefer “Have a good time” or “Safe travels”, which is general enough to show concern for me without telling me to be safe (as if I wouldn’t be.)
After some of my friends told me they felt insulted or offended and told me they really mean it when they say that, I thought about my response to this greeting. Was I being prideful in saying how much I hated hearing that because I felt insulted and coerced into acting a certain way? Or were they being prideful in reacting insulted and defending the statement, as if this was directed at them, personally? I mean, I was talking about how I feel when people (not anyone in particular) tell me to be safe, so why would they take offense or feel the need to defend the statement?
I think the lesson for all of us here is to be willing to listen to what people say without personalizing it. Of course, the way we relate to the world is to take the words and actions of others and pass them through our own experience, so it is pretty much impossible to not feel something when someone does or says something that “hits home”, so to speak.
And that is where, I believe, we either react with humility or pridefulness. Humility will remind us that it is their issue, their feelings, and their experience that is the subject, and not ours. If someone is speaking in general, yes, what they say may get us a little hot under the collar if they are speaking to something near and dear to our heart, but unless they are looking right at me and/or pointing to me, I have to remain humble and remember that the person is talking about themself, and not about me.
Today, our nation is polarized on almost everything: from politics to history to race to religion to what to have for dinner. Being able to remain humble and overcome our own feelings is so important to remain spiritually pure. It is a sin to be prideful, and that means not just in what we say but also in how we accept what others are saying.
Here is why I believe the world has become too self-centered: everyone wants us to speak to them compassionately and be careful how we say something, but no one is trying to listen compassionately. It is all about how what you say affects me, and no one seems to want to try to slow down when they hear something offensive or insulting, and think “Why would someone say something like that?” Maybe that person is in pain? Maybe that person has been told a lie? Maybe that person is upset about something totally different than what they are saying?
Or maybe that person is a major A-hole? The best way to answer these questions is to remain humble and overcome our initial prideful feelings when something someone says affects us, emotionally.
In the case where we are being insulted, directly, we can still remain humble in simply ignoring that person, which to me is the most insulting thing anyone can do to someone else. Better yet, we should ask them, “Why are you saying this to me?” showing compassionate listening by giving them a chance to explain. It may be a misunderstanding that can be resolved so that the end result isn’t two people angry with each other, but two people coming to an understanding and remaining on good terms with each other.
Doesn’t that sound more like the way Yeshua would act?
So, if anyone is feeling insulted, put upon, offended, or just put out by this message, I do apologize and hope that you will see this isn’t about YOU, but about all of us, me included, and how we should be just as careful listening to someone as when we speak to someone.
Yeshua had the advantage of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) letting him know what people really thought, but we don’t, so please listen with compassion and humility; and when something you hear bothers you, personally, step back a moment and ask yourself, “Is this about me or about them?”
If you can do that, then you are showing true humility, compassion, and love for others. And, if you ask me, that is the best way to be safe.
Thank you for being here. If you haven’t done so already, please subscribe here and on my YouTube channel, and check out my books when you are on the website. My newest book is called “The Good News About the Messiah for Jews, Debunking the Traditional Lies About the Jewish Messiah”.
And remember, I always welcome your comments.
So, l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!