Friday, June 2, 2017

Power of Contempt

Criticism and contempt are two attitudes that destroy peace in the family. A diocesan member of the pastoral work with families writes in the Kyeongyang magazine of the harm done with these two attitudes.

He gives examples of criticism and contempt and asks the readers which does the most harm. He makes clear that the difference is enormous. Contempt once begun doesn't end. When expressed it doesn't only destroy the relationship but it affects the health of those who are the object of the contempt.

Children who are the object of contempt not only suffer harm to their self-confidence but often becomes the cause of sickness. " A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse one crushes the spirit" (Proverbs 15:4).

Contempt in the dictionary is defined as looking down on someone, the act of despising another. Often we have the use of abusive and obscene language. To show how bad this is he asks his readers to take a plastic bag and give vent to all kinds of abusive language for about 10 minutes and then put a mosquito you have just caught in the bag it will quickly die. He gives another example of the saliva that is found in the bag filled with toxins, when injected into an artery of an experimental mouse, dies.

Contempt expressed even in jest can be serious. It is like throwing stones at a frog for fun but for the frog it is not a fun situation. When a person has a positive outlook on life he is able to accept a great deal but with a  negative attitude one is easily scared. A jest can quickly turn into a dagger.

He recommends to the readers to look for the good qualities of others. There is no one who has only strong points and no one has only weak points. We have a tendency to see the bad and ignore the good. This attitude is called the negativity effect (we tend to give more attention to the negative than to the positive).

He concludes the articles by advising that a good way to heal the habit of contempt in the family is to make a list of 50 strong points of each member of the family and place them where they can be seen. This is one of the techniques that help in becoming more positive.

"Anxiety in a man's heart depresses it, but a kindly word makes it glad" (Proverbs 12:25). In a word: to heal the wound of contempt is a kind word. "I am sorry,  thank you, I love you...."  Words we hear often but use rarely.