Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Bathsheba has taken over her late uncle’s large farm estate, and is running it with precision and skill. While getting used to her new community, she makes the acquaintance of her neighbor, the slightly older and very wealthy bachelor Mr. Boldwood. However, their first meeting is somewhat cold at best, and Bathsheba judges him to be an arrogant, removed sort of man. Because of his seemingly lack of a sense of humor, Bathsheba and her handmaid Liddy decide to play a prank on him- on Valentine’s day, they send him a short love letter. Neither of them think anything of it until Mr. Boldwood invites Bathsheba over to his home to talk.
The Golden Rule, Tongue, Deception, Words, Kindness
Bathsheba and Mr. Boldwood walk inside his enormous mansion, and he’s very clearly nervous. He’s nearly struck silent by her beauty, but when she says his name, he’s brought out of his trance and begins to tell her his feelings. “Miss Everdeen, I want very much, more than anything, to have you as my wife.” Bathsheba is shocked by this confession, and can do nothing but stare as he continues, saying, “Miss Everdeen, marry me.” She tries to stammer out a reply, knowing that she does not want to marry him, but not wanting to hurt him either. “Though I respect you very much,” she tells him, “I do not feel what would justify me... in accepting your offer.” Poor Mr. Boldwood looks crushed, and slightly confused. He tells her that he’s known disappointments before, but he says, “I would never have asked in this instance had I not been led to believe...” Here, he starts to dig something out of his pocket, “Unless... I am mistaken...” and we see in his hands, the prank Valentine’s card Bathsheba and Liddy sent him. Immediately, Bathsheba recognizes it, and guilt floods her face. “The Valentine. No, you’re not mistaken, but forgive me, it was thoughtless to disturb your peace of mind.” When Mr. Boldwood understands that it was meant as a joke, she tries to explain herself, calling her actions “impetuous”. But not to be deterred, Mr. Boldwood tries to show her what she could gain by marrying him, but she shuts him down again, telling him that she’s doing just fine on her own, and has no need for a husband. But when she sees how miserable she’s made him, and apologizes again, he asks her to reconsider, which she promises to do.
Bathsheba saw firsthand how the seemingly harmless joke she played on her neighbor affected him so deeply. What she considered to be meaningless fun drew Mr. Boldwood into an embarrassing confession and heartbreak. And even though she owned up to her actions and apologized for them, Bathsheba couldn’t take back the pain her actions caused. As Christians, we know the power that words hold over people. In Matthew 15:10-11, Jesus tells us that the words we say can “defile” a person, and in Proverbs 18:21, we are told that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and in Proverbs 26:18-19 people who lie and then claim it is a joke are compared to people who cast firebrands. So when we say things flippantly or without thinking of the consequences, we can wind up hurting people we never intended to. Every one of us has heard the Golden Rule at some point: treat others the way you want to be treated. Jesus even commanded it in Matthew 7:12. And in John 15:12, Jesus calls us to love each other as He loves us. But what does it mean to love other people like He loves us? First, it means that we share this love with everyone, not just people who are easy to love. Jesus spent his time with prostitutes, tax collectors, and the kinds of people that didn’t fit into “polite society.” He didn’t just love the people in power, or the ones who do something for Him; He loved those that could do nothing for Him the most. Second, it means we need to love each other more than we love ourselves. Ephesians 4:29-32 commands us to be tenderhearted and forgiving to one another, without holding onto bitterness and anger. We cannot place our own needs and desires above others’ when we seek to be like Christ (Philippians 2:4). As we learn to love people more like Christ, we gain more control over the way we speak to people. If we don’t, our religion is worthless (James 1:26). We need to watch our actions and words, because through them, we can either show the love of Christ, or our own fallen sin.
The Golden Rule, Golden Rule, Tongue, Deceit, Deception, Words, Kind, Kindness, Hurt, Hurtful, Practical Joke, Prank
None for this scene.