DIGNITY and POISE

Turn on your TV for 15 minutes, and see how many evidences of humility you see or hear. It will be startling if you find even one. From politics to athletics and everywhere in between, we seem to be continually blowing our own horns, making sure others know how great we are, and specifically how much greater we are than others. It’s a noisy culture, with pride blaring a cacophony of self-praise and discord. I shared in my last blog that the counter-culture of HUMILITY is one of Christ’s characteristics I most desire to imitate.

In this Lenten season, I have also been thinking about DIGNITY and POISE. These also are becoming more rare values, nearly extinct, in our world. Jesus was able to demonstrate them whatever came at Him. The week between Palm Sunday and Easter had to be excruciating for Him. At the beginning, no one knew what was about to happen. They just saw the praise of the people. Jesus KNEW that the people who were calling Him King would either run from Him by Friday or would be calling for His crucifixion. Yet He didn’t withdraw, retreat, or chastise. He was dignified, poised, and was able to stay in the moment with grace.

His impending death didn’t distract Him from confronting the vendors who were keeping the poor from being able to pray in the temple, or from continuing to teach the crowds and His disciples. His composure in the face of mental anguish was so strong no one even suspected what was on His mind. He accepted Mary anointing His feet with oil and tears with dignity and gratitude that raised her stature to the people who watched. He was poised and filled with grace and mercy, giving Him the capacity to share a meal and love with the one He knew was going to betray Him.

As He endured the abandonment of His friends, standing alone in a mock trial, hearing lies and false accusations, He could have been excused for losing His cool and venting on the men who understood so little, yet appeared to be so full of power and opinions. Yet He did not. He was the picture of dignity, poise, and self-control. He answered with courage and truth, and never spoke a word of rage or irritation. When He was in unspeakable physical and mental agony on the cross, His behavior was so compassionate and impeccable that a watching soldier declared in awe and wonder, “This HAS to be the Son of God!” He had the presence of mind and dignity of spirit to make sure His mother was loved and tended, and then to put the needs of a lowly dying thief ahead of His own.

When I think of the relatively trivial things I too often allow to disturb my peace, to rob me of my dignity and poise, I pray, “Lord Jesus—may your dignity and poise and composure be seen in me. May I be so filled with the Holy Spirit that when life squeezes me, the fruit of the Spirit comes out. Amen.”

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