Psalm 123

 

Too long has our soul been saturated with the ridicule of the complacent, the contempt of the arrogant. (123:4)

Ridicule and contempt wear down our souls. They are weapons used against those who take an unpopular position. Rather than engage in discussion and analysis of the pro’s and con’s, the path of a bully is to use tactics of intimidation by belittling the message or the messenger.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is a child’s magical incantation to ward off the pain of being put down with words. It rarely works, because it is extraordinarily painful to be belittled, even just with words. It hurts not to be taken seriously.

The complacent and the arrogant might believe that things are great just the way they are right now, and no change is needed. They might believe that the status quo is dead and radical change is the only way to survive. It is not their ideas that make them complacent or arrogant, but rather the way they express them, with the certainty that they are right and anyone who opposes them is wrong.

Leadership of an organization, beware! For only so long will your volunteers devote their time and resources if they are not valued. Healthy individuals can handle the fact that not every proposal will survive the test of committee discussion because they know that not every idea is necessarily a good one. But even emotionally stable people will walk away if ridicule and contempt, complacency and arrogance, are the response to every proposal.

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