Lately, I’ve been considering giving up the appearance of being smart. I’m not sure I’m courageous enough to give up appearances though. Everyone seems to admire smart people, give them more respect, or at least take them more seriously. And fear keeps me doing the things that get me lovin’, and keeps me from doing the things that get me ridiculed. I especially learned how to toe this line in college. Fear is an excellent headmaster which keeps us students saying the right things.
But faith teaches me other things, and if I’m honest—better things. I can’t explain it but a life of simple faith yields an abundant life of simple joys. I’m considering that this might actually be a lot better than trying to have others like me because I’m clever, or knowledgeable—and certainly better than expending energy towards avoiding or deflecting criticism, and derision, aimed at my simplicity.
Not too long ago a client was extremely angry towards me—screaming, and violently gesturing, he accused me of being a liar and a thief. It seemed a very unfair accusation but I decided to keep silent, and refrained from defending myself further against his railings. As it turns out though, he did me a great service, by helping me gain a measure of freedom over myself.
My good name, my integrity, my sense of being a good person—all of this was being called into question by his anger and vociferous attack. There were defenses to be made, I could have fought back with arguments, and explanations, but silence worked a better reward within my soul. I discovered that his hatred towards me in that situation only mattered to me if I was attached to his opinion of me. Otherwise, I was free.
He liberated me from my fear of losing face, and of being seen in a bad light. He appeared to be an enemy coming to take something away from me, but he unsuspectingly gave me a gift instead. He gave me an opportunity to forget myself, and even more, an opportunity to care about him in spite of this attack. I even saw an opportunity to love him, if I dared, and consider him a brother.
Now, I imagine this freedom in other areas of my life, especially the areas that are most important to me. What if I were to be called an idiot for my faith—a fool—or a simpleton for believing in Christ? How liberating that could be!!! Well, I’m sure there is no shortage of people happy to tell me this.
I have loved to be loved. However, might it not be more advantageous to love to be hated? Perhaps this is a doorway to complete freedom. But am I courageous enough to step through this door?