The word contempt seems to pop most into mind in reference to the court system. If one is in contempt of court they disregard and disrespect the judge, the expected decorum of the court room structure and fly in the face of common courtesy. Contempt is a state of self absorption or importance. I have been contemplating this word contempt in how I behave to the world around me. I think I could describe in general ways contempt creeps into all of us but processing how the contempt of the world around us is real and worth considering *reconsidering*. Contempt seems our constant struggle of sin against our neighbor.
In regard to relationships with our spouse, we can all giggle a bit at Paul Simon's lyrics in one of his more recent songswhere the husband says, "What? You don't like the way I chew?" That line does crack me up but can also sadden me as it speaks a lot of truth of how we relate to those who are closest to us. I have witnessed and had this sort of attitude myself. Shameful admittance but goes to show how low we drop in our regard of those around us. When I sit down to dinner, I no doubt will be thinking mostly of myself, even though I think I am valiantly serving my neighbor. It is worth it to me to ponder if that is true. It isn't my righteousness which should motivate me to do so, but my love of neighbor. Am I being ridiculous in my expectations of my neighbor when I myself am not too patient with other's quirks???? Sigh. Humbling processing.
Do family members and others do and say hurtful things??? Sure. Do I view them with contempt. Sure I do. Repenting and processing my response to the world around me is just thought provoking. How to smile in response to the little irritants which we face. Thinking the best of our neighbor - sigh. Remembering that Christ died for them TOO and not just for my sinful, sorry hide. Hmmm.......this is the most challenging of thoughts but worth it for the sake of my neighbor.
The flip side of contempt in my mind, is compassion,. Do I have compassion for the little face which does not like to hear he has been mean or whatever he has been up to. Do I need to shame him or alert him to the problem. Contempt is rolling my eyes at the pouting and compassion is shutting my mouth, dealing with the fallout quietly and stick to the facts. Little person of mine, you have sinned against your neighbor, but thanks be to God Jesus has it covered in the forgiveness of sins. Wow, is that hard to remember when life is clouding my vision.
Compassion for my husband, who travels every week, is pretty ADD and is the person inside the Energizer Bunny costume and all where Duracell gets the energy from to put into the batteries which power your flashlights. How to have compassion for that sort of energy and my lack of it. This is a huge weakness for me. He is currently recharging his batteries and pretty quiet. Easy to have compassion on the comatose.
I could prattle on about this subject but it seems the bottom line is that it is very comfortable to live in contempt of our neighbor and much more challenging to have compassion. Again, thanks be to God for God's compassion for us in His Son Christ Jesus, His death on the cross for us and remembering that despite our annoying neighbors and our annoying sinful selves, Christ is still Risen from the dead. Alleluia!