A Rescuer of Self-Esteem
When I was a little boy my teacher asked me what came after twelve and I said, “One.” The other children in the room laughed at me. A girl with long brown locks looked at me with disdain as if to say, “How can you be so stupid?” But my teacher was very wise. Pausing for a moment she pointed to the clock on the wall and said, “Very good, Roger.” I remember riding home on the bus feeling very good. The others had laughed but my teacher vindicated me.
I remembered this years later when preparing a sermon on the Beatitudes. Jesus said, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Matthew 5:11) For a few seconds I felt reviled and my teacher rescued me. The truth was I was wrong. The answer was, of course, thirteen. But a wise, caring teacher knew such moments in a child’s life plot the future. She rescued my self-esteem.
There is a story told in Matthew 26 of a woman pouring very expensive perfume on Jesus. It was an act that could not be hidden because everyone’s nose pointed to her and the reaction was not good. Nasty things were said and she could hear. However, Jesus spoke up in her defense, most likely not really to defend the act as much as to defend her. People were always foremost in His care. Her chief accusers were correct from a fiscal viewpoint. From a human viewpoint they were dead wrong.
Written by Roger Bothwell on October 14, 2003
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453