The true definition of the word ‘obedience’.

The true definition of the word ‘obedience’.


This word most often evokes many negative feelings and ideas conjuring up images of someone ordering us to do something without us having any say or input.  A parent yelling at a child to clean up her room.  A husband or a wife demanding that the other work harder to bring in more money.  A boss telling an employee to do something she believes is unethical.  A master commanding a dog to sit or to heal.

But in reality, the word obedience derives from the Latin word audire, which means “to listen”.  It means to ‘give attention’ with no hesitation or limitation, to be “all ear”.  It means to be fully engaged in the situation of the other.  It doesn’t mean ‘searching for a response’ while another person in talking, but allowing the other person to fully express what he/she is thinking, feeling, and experiencing.  It means to be patient and accepting of a persons experiences.  It means not to judge or be critical, but willing to be equally open to both the joy and the sorrow, the laughter and the tears.

We recently met a friend of ours for breakfast.  During our time together she shared a story in which she and a group of friends were talking about their week.  One friend shared the painful news that his wife who has cancer is losing her job.  This is a devastating development for their family financially and emotionally.  There was a stunned silence when the news was shared as if no one knew what to say.  Their stunned silence wasn’t an empathetic silence–as if they were really listening and being “all ear” for the family.   Instead, it was an uncomfortable and awkward silence.  Then quickly someone spoke up and shared the news of something good that had happened in their life, totally ignoring the difficult news that was just shared.  It was as if by ignoring the depth of what was shared that it would somehow ‘go away’.  Our friend expressed regret that she didn’t speak up herself and acknowledge the pain the man expressed.  She rightly realizes the significance of the silence and the damage that it can do, that it in essence said to the man, “your concerns, your pain, your sorrow, isn’t valid and important.”  More than likely, she feels he would be very reluctant to share something so personal and painful again.

How often have you been in situations like this one?  How has it made you feel?  Does it cause you to not want to open up and share?  Does it force you to hold everything in?


2 Responses

  1. After talking and coming on the site I say “thank God” there are people reaching for their authentic self. I say it is a Godly blessing because there has been much written and discussed about a people, African American of which I am, without understanding that we as a culture have been creative to look, feel and be a figment of the larger society’s idea and ideal of what can be made into a consumer product, brought and sold as if this is why were are created. I want to talk about a word that has been so misunderstood, it bears being revealed in a new light “slavery”. We all suffer from one form or another of “slavery”. There is no other demographic as neglected as the “authentic Black woman”, yet we occupy a large degree of the mental health and penial institutions as well as being the lowest paid and most likely to not success under the pressures. I am not this type, but I have however, been subjected and can be and will be for until Jesus comes, it seems. We may fit into categories that we do fit, for sure, however lets realized that we need to be seen in light of what is “expected” or what is perceived wrongly. I am a brillant writer and orator and I write and speak on the authentic “spiritual self”. God bless you.

  2. After reading what I wrote, perhaps too fast, however, I will reiterate. The real spiritual authentic self looks like…….What does it look like? I will be writing about this in future comments. Thank you for your interest.

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