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« | Main | Reply to Ken and more Christian Women for Social Justice and Equality »

Grace & Dignity

By Ken Poland
July 14, 2012

I subscribe to a site called “Positive Quote of the Day”. This quote really says something to us all.

“Money is a way of keeping score in life, says T. Boone Pickens. But that is just for those who like playing the game. The real goal is to live with grace and dignity. You can do that with a small amount of money...or not do it with a fortune.”   -- Bill Bonner, financial journalist

First, however, we must define ‘grace’ and ‘dignity’.

Grace for many of us is a religious condition of God’s mercy and benevolence regardless of our deserving it. But grace is also how we, as humans tolerate others behavior. We can be as full of grace toward others as we want to be. Our wealth, health, and social status need not be a limiting factor. How someone else treats us shouldn’t limit our graceful acceptance of them, even if they don’t deserve it. Responding gracefully toward other’s un-graceful behavior will put them in their place much better than confrontation or judgement.

Dignity is a little harder to maintain. How we accept ourselves is the secret. It may be difficult to feel dignified if we don’t have access to soap and water or clean un-tattered clothes. But if we have done the best we can with the resources we have, then we can display dignity in our own eyes. What others think is their problem! Being wealthy doesn’t justify us being arrogant and acting foolishly or unseemly. Haughty demand for special privilege and attention doesn’t display dignity. It only displays your own sense of entitlement based on your own perception of your superiority to those with lessor pedigrees. However, once again, what others think is their problem. But, in the long run, a lasting sense of dignity does depend upon others accepting us as their equals. It’s pretty hard for the beggar to accept someone as their equal, if that someone flaunts their wealth and ignores the beggar’s needs. It is equally hard for someone who has truly lifted themselves to independent living standards to understand and respect the need for dignity of the beggar who shows no sign of putting forth any effort to supply their own needs. But, they are human beings and deserve our respect and concern.

Inherited wealth makes us neither better nor worse than the derelict beggar or the self made millionaire. We are not born with grace or dignity. Those two qualities are earned and acquired as we grow in wisdom and stature.

Calling one another ignorant or stupid and accusing others of lying, when they don’t report what we think is absolute truth is a little like ‘the pot calling the kettle black’. None of us know everything and we all, sometimes, prevaricate the truth just a little.

Do you think if all religious and political folks could show a little tolerance and offer grace, respect, and dignity to all people that we would have a little more peace and tranquility in this world? Let’s try it and see what a difference it makes.

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