May 6, 2016

Sometimes The Onion is Right

By Anna Ilona Mussmann

A while back, The Onion, a satirical site with lots of fake news articles, ran this headline: "Woman Comforting Friend Just Going to Throw Compliments Against Wall and See What Sticks."

"BILLINGS, MT—In an attempt to console her distraught friend following a recent breakup, local woman Janet Hendrickson told reporters Thursday that she was just going to throw a bunch of compliments about the woman against the wall and see what sticks."

There's truth in the joke. Women have a reputation for seeking affirmation from their friends ("No, you're a great mom!" "He's lucky to have you!" "No, that dress looks really flattering on you!"). Reassuring each other is one of the ways that women bond.

Intelligent husbands also learn quickly to step into the affirmation breach and say nice things to their wives.



Yet the mood-boost of a good compliment doesn't last forever. No matter what our friend or husband has told us in the past, we want to keep hearing that we are smart, pretty, right, or skillful. The surface compliments reassure us that we are loved and valuable.

The Onion's post reminded me of why we go to church over and over, week in and week out. We humans live within time. Our bodies require a nearly constant stream of food, sleep, and shelter. Our emotional needs must be met repeatedly. Our souls, too, must hear the words of Law and Gospel over and over.

The piece in The Onion concludes,

"At press time, Hendrickson had thankfully found a means of discontinuing her scattershot barrage of compliments by telling Fitzgerald that it didn’t matter what anyone else thought about her as long as she believed in herself."

In real life, of course, believing in ourselves is a dead-end street. Which of us is without sin? Yet it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of us as long as we believe in Christ. The tremendous beauty if it all is that we don't have to muster up this belief for ourselves. He gives it to us. Let us, then, go to church, and receive. There we find true comfort.

1 comment:

  1. "Our bodies require a nearly constant stream of food, sleep, and shelter. Our emotional needs must be met repeatedly. Our souls, too, must hear the words of Law and Gospel over and over."
    So true! And thank you for saying it so plainly and well.

    ReplyDelete

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