Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Lesson from Jane

While reading Jane Austin's book Persuasion a few weeks ago, I noticed one statement at the beginning of the story. This statement wasn't particulary important to the ensuing drama, but it convicted me nonetheless. First, I will give you some context, and then I will reveal a lesson learned.

In this classic story, Austin writes about a family composed of Sir Walter Elliot and his three daughters, Elizabeth, Anne and Mary. Lady Elliot, Sir Walter's wife and the girl's mother, had died several years earlier. We get a glimpse of her character from the following statement written about the respect she bestowed upon her husband:
"She had humoured, or softened, or concealed his failings, and promoted his real respectability for seventeen years; ..."
And here is the lesson learned: I don't do that. But I want to.
Why am I not more like Lady Elliot? Because sometimes my husband bothers me and I want him to know it. Because I am selfish and proud often think myself superior. Because I often care more about myself and my feelings than the feelings of my husband.
What can I do to become more like Lady Elliot? I can laugh at the little, silly idiosyncrasies that makes Brent who he is. I can soften and accept the beautiful, well-meaning, but imperfect, man God gave to me. I can choose not to talk of his mistakes and foibles to others, but instead make him shine in their eyes. I can promote his real respectability--the person that I know he is--and believe in that myself. And I can continue to do that for the rest of the years that God gives us together. God help me.
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. "
Romans 12: 9-10

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