As we enter a new year, I want to share a simple but healing practice with you for our relationships. It comes from Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature. Wiesel said,
“Never allow anyone to be humiliated in your presence.”
We all know what humiliation feels like. It literally means to be reduced to dirt (humus). Whether through a look, a word, an action, or a structure, humiliation makes us feel smaller, belittled, ground down and degraded. When we humiliate, we treat people as if they’re worth less, if not altogether worthless. And that means that we treat them like they’re no longer made and loved by God — no longer our neighbors in creation.
I offer three simple observations on humiliation:
First, few things are more painful and destructive than humiliation. We instinctively recognize and recoil against it, because each of us has a God-given need to be seen as valuable.