The Greatest Human Need

The Greatest Human Need

What we crave more than anything is to be understood and esteemed.

We see this confirmed in:

  • War between nations- wars often start because national dignity has been wounded
  • Troubles and bliss-even sexual bliss- of marriage
  • Office squabbles
  • Friendship and its termination
  • Relationship with God
  • Controversy about gay marriage- a demand for esteem.

Human dignity is paramount. Each person seeking to assert and maintain individual dignity leads to either the warmest bonds or the bitterest splits.

When we set out to be charitable, the kindest thing we can do is not to throw paper currency at beggars, but to understand their need and fill it, help them fill it, or teach them how to fill it, while acknowledging their infinite worth as a human being, a child of God.

The kindest gift to an elderly person is time, remembering good times together, expressing gratitude for the lessons they imparted, recalling experiences. Sending a blanket pales in contrast.

We are kind, in a primary way, by simply smiling and greeting another, by name, if possible. A higher way is to give a gift that reflects their talent, interest or current need. The highest way of kindness is to teach others what they really need to know, to share part of your vulnerable feelings with them, your insecurity, your guilt, your aspiration, that is, to open your heart, trusting in their gentleness. Then we can receive their most vulnerable expressions and treat them gently.

We can do this sexually. We do it confessing to God. We do it in friendship and in charitable visiting, (two species of the same thing.)

Understanding, oh how rare, how prized!


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