On my blog last week, I wrote about disposable people. Today, I want to draw attention to those who dispose of people.
Looking upon people as disposable is not limited to race, ethnic group or color, religion or creed, sex or sexual orientation, youthfulness or old age. People who are among the most impoverished and the ones who live in exquisite splendor as the richest of the rich can be a disposer. It is perpetrated by the ill upon the well and the well upon the ill. The prisoner upon the free, and the free upon the prisoner. The physically challenged upon the physically perfect and the physically perfect upon the physically challenged. No one is immune from the temptation to dispose of others.
What follows is my list of five disposers.
The Meerkat(s): The first disposers are meerkats. The meerkat lives in a colony ruled by an alpha male and alpha female. If any female, other than the alpha, delivers pups, the alpha pair will kill the young and evict the offending mother.
Meerkats dispose of others through unforgiveness and ostracization. Have you ever crossed a meerkat? Perhaps you intentionally did something wrong, or it could have been an unintentional consequence of a set of uncontrollable coincidences. It really doesn’t matter how you offended the meerkat. No manner of explaining, apologizing, or asking forgiveness will do. Mr. Meerkat is finished with you.
With a meerkat, once you are out, you can never get back in.
The Elephant(s): Another kind of disposer is the elephant. It almost seems a shame to cast these majestic animals in a negative light, however elephants have long memories. A caregiver observed two elephants, who had a brief encounter several years before, greet each other as if they were old friends. During prolonged droughts, park rangers say an older matriarch has been observed leading her herd to a watering hole she has not visited for over 30 years. The fact is, it is a compliment to be told you have a memory like an elephant.
But, just as sure as an elephant can remember the good you have done; it can remember the bad, too. Elephants are the grudge holders that can’t seem to let it go. Long memories of real or perceived wrongs are retained for a lifetime. No matter how many years have passed since the original event, the elephant remembers it like it happened yesterday. They are the stamp collectors who carefully slide each offence into a plastic sleeve to be kept and treasured for years. From time to time, they like to share their collection of grudges with others. Once you have offended an elephant, you are going to hear about it for a very, very long time.
Elephants will not no allowance for a mistake or forget a wrongdoing.
The Honey Badger(s): One more disposer is the honey badger. This small animal is stubborn and savage. It will not walk away from a fight. This little member of the weasel family has been known to chase away lions and kill predators many times its size.
Honey badgers are uncooperative and stubborn. They hold on to their story regardless of the facts. Anyone who presumes to challenge their version of events will get a savage response. Ms. Honey Badger cannot be wrong, she is never mistaken.
Anyone who wants to reconcile with a honey badger must accept his/her version of things before the conversation can begin.
The Chicken’s Pecking Order: The fourth disposer is the chicken hierarchy. Those who observe chicken behavior notice that there are higher, middle, and lower classes of chickens and the lowliest is the henpecked bird. Chickens can be fierce about their position in the flock and will fight to protect their status or to advance. The older quickly put the younger in place. Established birds violently show a new comer its place. Some flocks have bullies who deny others access to food. Sick or injured chickens are killed or driven away. And then, there is the henpecked bird – last to eat or drink, at the end of the line for a spot to roost – this bird tries to be unseen. It keeps its distance from others. By being submissive, perhaps, just perhaps, it may not get any unwanted attention.
The pecking order is toxic for those at the bottom. The top and middle chickens are abusive and manipulative. They have active contempt for those beneath them. If you stay around the higher chickens long enough your self-esteem will be destroyed, your accomplishments dismissed, and your pain and suffering invalidated. You will be fed regular doses of shame, blame, and hatred. In Matthew 10:28, Jesus warned not against those who could kill the body, but against those who can kill the soul.
The toxic chickens who lord over you will never let you rise. They will always push you down in order to maintain their own position.
The Chimpanzee(s): The last disposer is the chimp. Far from being the adorable creature we see on TV and film, Chimpanzees have been known to be murderers in the wild. In 2013 some observers with a video camera filmed a chimp that was out of favor with the community attempting to get back into the social group. The male chimp was attacked mercilessly, his body torn apart, and parts of him cannibalized.
Chimps are the haters. To hate someone is to wish that person would die and go to hell. Chimps actively try to destroy you. They make false accusations against you that cause others to be suspicious. They can make it difficult for you to do your job and problematic for your employer to keep you on the payroll. Every piece of mud and dirt they can dig up is publicly splattered asunder to see what sticks. Associations with the tainted are exploited and used to implicate you. They paste you with unflattering and harmful labels. After Raymond Donovan was cleared of fraud in 1987, he famously asked, “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?” You may run, you may hide, but it is difficult to escape a chimp bent on a vendetta.
The chimp will never allow you to live outside the box they have painted for you.
This is my declaration: Unlike the meerkat, I will strive to be a reconciler who welcomes and forgives the offender. Unlike the elephant, I will release the grudges and bury the trespasses made against me. Unlike the honey badger, I will choose to be a peacemaker. Unlike the lordly chicken, I will be a servant to help and encourage others. Unlike the chimp, I will give hope, I will give life.
With all that is within me, I resolve to never actively or passively dispose of others. Their hearts are too precious, their minds too aware, their souls too valuable, and their spirits too alive to be dumped, discarded, or destroyed.