The Parable of the Feathers


Once upon a time a certain man went to the town monk.

“Monk,” confesses he, “I have been slandering you to my neighbors. I am truly sorry for what I’ve said and how I’ve treated you. I take back all the bad words I have said. How may I find penance?”

The monk nods graciously, then sagely proffers this command: “Go pluck 3 chickens. Stuff a bag with the feathers, then go place one feather on every doorstep in town. Return to me when you complete your task.”

Scurrying away, the villager meticulously complies. He returns to the monk the next day.

“Monk,” smiles he, “I have obeyed your instruction exactly. What should I do now?”

“Now?” “Now,” intones the monk, “go pick up every feather.”

“But, but,” splutters the villager, “it has been an entire night. This task is impossible!”

The monk nods in agreement, turns, and walks away.


The moral of this story?  Words are, indeed, important.  Once they leave your lips, you can’t take them back.

When demonizing or bashing or performaing a hit job on someone:  when you accuse that person of something, whether it is grounded in fact or not, everyone who reads your comment will form an opinion about that person based on your words.

What if your words or wrong or biased and slanted and not complete?

The worth, character, integrity, value and veracity of a person cannot be judged based on his mistakes or failings (eye of the beholder) alone.  A person is the sum total of all that and more — his failings and his triumps and achievements, his bad decision and his good, wise ones, etc.

The other problem with bashing is that there is an assumption on the part of the basher as to what the person’s intent or agenda is.  What if you are wrong?

It is easy to destroy a person’s reputation, but much more difficult to restore it.


About Laura Schneider

Retired IT consultant (disabled), musician and animal lover. I support the constitutional concept of Right of Privacy and no discrimination against any person based on race, religion, ideology, gender, sexual preference or disability. I am very concerned about the erosion of our constitutional rights and protections under GWB (and even this administration). I strongly oppose torture, rendition or illegal search and/or seizure (without a warrant) and warrantless wiretapping. I believe that education is our best hope of a bright future for our children. Knowledge is power, and that's the kind of authority (Biblically speaking) that our children must have in order to be successful in a 21st century world.
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