She’s no better than she ought to be.
The proper English lady sniffed pompously as she said the words. Quite obviously, she considered the woman about whom she was speaking beneath herself. I don’t have many British friends, so I’ve never heard the phrase used in conversation.
I am happy to say the BBC comedy program the Lovely Lady and I were watching has provided the impetus for many trips to the dictionary of origins for me.
I suppose I may be a little odd (perhaps, more than a little).
I have always loved words. Big words. Little words. Obscure words. I want to know where our language came from. If it comes to that, I want to know where it is going. Still, I didn’t have to do much research to figure this one out.
The female person about whom the words were spoken was quite clearly poor and uneducated. Her morality was also suspect. Somehow, for quite a few people, the two states are inseparable.
They believe poor and uneducated leads to immoral, every time.
Apparently, if you get a bad start, you aren’t expected to rise any higher in the years which follow.
If you are born disadvantaged, you’ll never be any better than you ought to be.
And, that might be a true statement.
Except. . .
Did you know that every one of us was born disadvantaged?
Did you know that not one of us has the ability to become good?
We can never be any better than we ought to be. None of us.
All of us have sinned. All of us fall short. It is the norm—the common condition of man. (Romans 3:23)
Except. . .
Except, the Disruptor came along. He made us better than we ought to be.
You know what a disruptor is, don’t you? In the jargon of today’s marketplace, a disruptor is someone or something which has the ability to change forever the item or entity with which it intersects.
It’s not that things are done in a different way; things actually are different.
For all of history before the Disruptor’s coming, our Creator, knowing that we were disadvantaged, and understanding where we came from (He fashioned us, after all), overlooked our sin.
Oh, it had to be covered; that’s what the sacrifices were for—a covering for sin—but God, understanding we were made from dirt and would always act like dirt, loved us anyway. (Psalm 103:8-14)
He loved us anyway.
And, in His time—at the perfect juncture in history—He sent the Disruptor. Because He loves us, things would be different forever.
We will be better than we ought to be.
No more will we be able to point to our heritage and suggest that we are just as good as they were. Never again will we know the limitation of being only as good as our past allows.
He makes all things new! Disruption means that nothing will ever be the same again.
We have been re-created. And, not out of dirt! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The very thought of it makes me sit up straighter. This new reality changes everything. I don’t have to go through life trapped in the same state as when I was born.
But still, the lie intrudes.
You’ll never be any better. Never.
Somehow, even in the truth of newness, and in the reality of not-dirt, we begin to believe the lie that we are worthless. And, being human, we find ways to build our own worth.
Bolstering our own worth always involves diminishing the worth of others. Always.
Still, we say the words. The lie prevails. Pride rules in our hearts. And, as we take aim at others, we hurt ourselves.
He changes the rules. It’s what He came for.
Go ahead then; stone her. But the first stone must be thrown by one who has never sinned. (John 8:7)
Do you think He came to leave us in the same condition in which He found us? Without question, the most disruptive person in all of history is the Son of God.
He calls us to follow Him in his disruptive ways.
He calls us to love each other anyway.
We are the hands and feet—and heart— of the Disruptor here on earth.
Where we walk and serve, nothing should ever be the same again.
Perhaps, it’s time for us to get started.
Dust are our frames, and, gilded dust our pride.
(Alfred Lord Tennyson ~ English poet ~ 1809-1892)
The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die
The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear him.
(Psalm 103:13-17 ~ NLT)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.