Joking around with a few of my friends, my frat brother said to the group, “Oh you know Trent has mastered Law 16”, referring to the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, “Use absence to increase respect and honor.” Now, I’ve read the book some time ago and very familiar with this “Law”. But as I laughed, and began to think about it, I was struck with an analogy of this law that I couldn’t resist to explain.
Law 16: Use absence to increase Respect and Honor, 1 of the 48 Laws explained in detail by Greene is a unique one as it’s one of the few that I do naturally. Not necessarily because I’m looking to attain or acquire power, but I’m simply just a private person. I’ve always paraphrased this law by saying ‘Give people a chance to miss you, if you’re too available then your time won’t be respected.’ However, you go about it, the message is relatively the same. As my frat brother went on and on about giving his explanation of this law, I interjected: “Hey, that Law aligns with a fundamental nugget of Bible scripture.” This immediately grabbed his attention as He and I frequently give personal testimonies or break downs of the Biblical text. “Go find the person and what He said…” And the Challenge was on.
Shortly after he said, “A man can receive no respect in his own home”. CORRECT! I exclaimed. But, who said this line (though paraphrased.). He gave a few names, and I finally gave the final hint “It’s in red text.” Suddenly he replied “Jesus.” But how could one compare a seemingly trivial law with a short line from the synoptic gospels.
Well in Mark 6, titled as “A Prophet without Honor” gives us the Scene of when Jesus returned to His hometown. And in the first few verses there’s murmurs from friends, and loved ones asking “isn’t this the carpenter”, “where is this Wisdom coming from”, in short truly questioning who and what Jesus, is IN THE MIDST of Him performing miracles. (Talk about lack of faith) This reminded me of how often those places we call ‘home’ and our Closest friends can be our greatest enemies. As we attempt to grow and experience new levels of life, they want to constantly remind us where we came from, and how low we used to be, and all the bad things we did together. Jesus was in a unique position to take them higher, and they were more concerned at the justification of His power. He shortly says after this “A Prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives, and in his own home.” Almost identical to the Law presented by us earlier in this text…. How sad it must be that even the savior of the world, was not respected, or honored during his time at home. In the physical sense, this aligns so greatly with that of the 16th Law. However, there came to me a thought: “There’s even more here…”
Let’s look again at what we’ve went over. “Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor.” Hmm, as I thought on this over and over, I realized there was an even deeper meaning I could tie with Jesus and His life: The crucifixion. Jesus had to become absent of the body, to receive the true respect and honor he deserved. Mom used to say “You’ll never know what you had, until you lose it,” or, “You’ll miss me when I’m gone.” I can’t help but to think that Christ was looking at these unbelievers with disbelief (pun intended) that even after these parables, divine teachings, and supernatural miracles they took His presence for granted. And in the case of the Sanhedrin they simply didn’t want to believe it at all. The Jews, people who looked like Him, and believed like Him, were the very ones that persecuted Him unto death. Because they took comfort and security in the ‘ways things had always been’ and the power structure in place they rejected any notion that this prophet, this Messiah had professed. Even the morbid march to Golgotha mirrored some of our present-day struggles. As you begin to grow into who you were called to be, you can’t help but hear those around you mock you, tell you your dreams are outrageous, and how you’ve forgotten where you came from. Just like they did Jesus.
Alas, it was in the final moments of the late Friday when Jesus gave up the ghost and became temporarily ‘absent of the body’ that the temple veil tore, and the Earth shook and quaked. Immediately, the cries went from persecution to realization that “Surely He was the son of God.” But wait, you mean after 33 years of a miraculous life, fulfilling Bible-based prophecy, witnessing miracles, it took Jesus LEAVING earth for Him to get the respect His very name deserves? Wild…
Doesn’t matter how much you do for and around those that are most comfortable with your presence. When they become accustomed to it, they don’t and won’t always respect it. It’s good that we get out and go away at times, so maybe just maybe our time and presence can be fully appreciated. Sure, we can generate pages of exceptions to this concept, but in the most general sense too much of anything sparks complaints from even the most grateful. I mean think about the ‘omnipresence’ of God, always there both in the past and in the present both when we do good, and even when we find joy in doing wrong; reaffirming that there is most certainly power in presence, and just maybe, moreover, a lack thereof.
With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,
Trent J ACEO