One of the most common human experiences is to be put down. For my generation, how familiar are the words, “You are nothing but a second rate…trying hard…copycat.” We have been put down for so many reasons. The color of our skin, our accent, our religion, because of the mistakes we have done, because people envied us, because we are on our way up, or people are simply insecure.
Even Jesus was put down by his townmates: Isn’t he the carpenter? Isn’t Mary his mother? Don’t we know His relatives? They took offense at him. Why did they do this? They could not imagine Jesus as the prophet, more so as the messiah. “Where did he get all these?”
Hence if we experienced being put down, three things we remember:
- Our value and worth are not based on other people’s opinions. Our true value and worth are based on God. We are all in the image and likeness of God. It is His words and promises that are more important and not the words of other people.
- Forgiveness. Anger, envy, and fear are two emotions people deal with every day. Some people deal with it by throwing it at the people around them. They gossip, they character assassinate, they put down people. Jesus on the cross said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” He confronted sin with love.
- Faithfulness to our Vocation. All of us have a mission, purpose, and call from the Lord. Let us be faithful to this. People will surely put us down and it is most painful if they are friends and family. But then we should realize that with the Lord, nothing is impossible. No one can block the plan of the Lord for us.
In each Mass, we remember that whoever is trying to bring us down is already below us. Hence, two challenges: to forgive and to move on, and in no circumstance should we put down others.