I’ve been thinking alot about Michael Dowd’s representation of the brain as creatures from the animal kingdom: the lizard brain, the furry little mammal, the monkey mind, and the higher porpoise. Getting slandered stabs pretty deep into the human psyche. It’s a strike at the furry little mammal part of our brain. We want to belong. We’re wired to fit in, to belong, to be liked, to be part of the group, and slander puts us firmly outside the group. People are talking…that’s bad.

Or is it? I think of slander (and I’ll extend this to criticism for the sake of argument) as an opportunity for a gut check. If someone disses, criticizes, ridicules, or otherwise takes issue with something I’ve done, I know two things: first, that I’ve touched something in that person that makes them uncomfortable, and second, that they’re uncomfortable. Do I need to be?

Gut check. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I said or did something that justifiably ruffled feathers. Time to apologize, or make it right. Sometimes, I didn’t do anything other than live out of my center, my God-spark as a human being. In that case I (usually) resist giving the standard New Yorker’s response (which can’t be printed on this blog) and let the comments drift away.

Either way the slander is a blessing. It’s an opportunity to check in with myself and my Self, to evaluate my progress on God’s path for me, and make corrections. How are you blessed by slander?

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