Gleanings – I’m Perfect. Please, Don’t Suggest Otherwise!

Mark 6:13-29

And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.”

Saving face is a powerful force in our lives. To deny it leaves us subject to whims and peer pressure and leaves others in very real peril.

In our story John the Baptist was known to Herod as a righteous and holy man. And yet an off the cuff promise to someone who pleased him caused Herod to create or advance his own infamy. He beheaded this man whom he rightfully feared. Because this heinous act is recorded in Christian writ, it will never be forgotten.

Embarrassment generally is tough on the average bear. I remember returning from a trip and making my way to my car at Midway in Chicago. I was cruising along when I hit some black ice. It sent me and my bag and my briefcase flying. What was my first instinct even while I was still lying upon the asphalt? To look around and see if anyone saw me suffer this debacle. When I got to the car I realized I was bleeding and bruised. The injuries were on the edge of warranting an emergency room visit. But it was my pride and ego that suffered the most.

Sadly I have seen the dynamic play out in families. A teenager was crying out for help by cutting himself and mentioning suicide. The parents of this socially prominent family resisted help. It was clear they did not want the world to know all was not well just beneath the veneer. I found myself with others trumping the family and getting the boy help his parents did not want.

Saving face often plays itself out in our inability to reconcile.  It is difficult for most if not all to admit we have sinned. Heck, forget intent. It is difficult for many to admit a simple mistake. So we avoid the “I am sorry. Please forgive me.” Instead we tend to double down and rationalize our poor judgment often exalting our faulty logic in the process.

Imperfection is inextricably intertwined with what it means to be human. Why we do not navigate it better I do not know. Oh yeah. Pride goes just before the fall. Inextricably intertwined!

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