Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How's your pain tolerance?

This week most of us have seen clips of Miss California, Carrie Prejean, answering a question posed to her during the Miss USA pageant. One of the judges gave her a "zero" because he didn't agree with her answer and went on to make some vulgar remarks about her.

Though we may not find ourselves in a position like Carrie Prejean, where we are asked on television to give our opinion on a subject and then are publicly ridiculed worldwide, similar situations on a smaller scale can happen to any of us.

In the workplace we can be surrounded by people with opposing opinions and tactless or curt personalities. We can find ourselves being backed in a corner by someone who wants our job. Maybe they feel threatened in some way and resort to "bad behavior" in order to gain attention.

How we respond to something painful like this speaks volumes about our character. Carrie Prejean chose to respond calmly and actually state that she forgives Mr. Hilton for his degrading remarks. She had a choice as to what she would say or even if she would say anything. She chose the path of responding with kindness even though she disagreed with him.

I think it's great that she wasn't silent in response to his remarks. She chose to use the opportunity to further defend her position and explain her beliefs in greater detail. She continued to have a calm attitude toward her offender. In fact she expressed care and concern for him. Carrie took what could have been a "downward spiral" and stopped it before it plummeted into a heated exchange. Instead, her reply diverted the tone set by Mr. Hilton. He now basks in the aftereffect of his own words. People on both sides of the same-sex marriage issue don't necessarily want to be associated with him because his comments were so hurtful and extreme.

It took a high pain tolerance for Carrie to choose to be, not just civil, but courageous and courteous in her response. Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." It takes a high pain tolerance to feel the sting and turn it around gently. Carrie paid a high price by stating her views honestly and also responding kindly to Mr. Hilton's insults. I think the crown of her future will be much greater than the one she narrowly missed wearing as Miss USA.

Photo: Dmitry Maslov/