I've been thinking about last week's Gospel (Matthew 5: 21-37) and all that tears apart our relationships. One of the guest speakers at my clergy retreat (last week) pointed out 4 destroyers of relationships.1. Criticism 2. Defensiveness 3. Contempt 4. Stonewalling (stalling, refusing to answer)
Contempt is the one that I have had to mull over. At first, I could only think about court scenes on TV. As in, "Counselor, if you don't watch yourself, we will hold you in contempt." I don't really know what the consequences are for being held in contempt of court--but based on the judges tone, we can assume it's not good.
Consider this example of how contempt can invade your relationships: Complaint- "You left your towel on the floor." Criticism-"You always leave your towel on the floor." Contempt-"You slob."
Our speaker said that contempt is the principle acid that destroys a marriage, partnership, close friendship. In fact, once a sense of contempt for one another is present--the relationship is headed south. Not only that, but your chances of getting and dying from an infectious disease skyrockets. Whoa.