Emma – "Badly Done…"

Respect, Criticism and Encouragement

Bible refs: Philippians 2 vv 5-10

Location of clip:
1 hr 24 mins and 53 secs to 1hr 29 mins and 27 secs

Film Description:
Emma is a full-time matchmaker. She spends her days attempting to marry off her friends. However this often backfires on her. On route to mismatching many of her friends she discovers that she has fallen in love with Mr Knightley – her best friend. Oh dear. Can the great matchmaker make her own match?


Clip description:
Emma and her friends are out on a picnic. A game is suggested. Each of them must say one very interesting thing, two mildly interesting things, or three very dull things. One of Emma’s friends, Miss Bates, jokes that she will struggle to think of anything to offer, being of such humble mind.

Emma snaps back that Miss Bates’s problem will be keeping the list of mundanities to just three things. There is an awkward silence as Miss Bates slowly realises the meaning of Emma’s acidic comment.

Mr Knightley comes to Miss Bates’s aid and rescues her from the embarrassment. Later, as they return home, Mr Knightley takes Emma to one side and chides her for picking on the lowly Miss Bates in front of everyone. Emma, is clever and witty and privileged. Miss Bates is none of these things. “Badly done, Emma, ” says Knightley, “badly done.”

And Emma turns away and hides her tears.

Surely one of the greatest qualities we’ve lost in contemporary life is that of respect. It’s a word we bandy around so much – as if saying it somehow confers it. But that’s a lie. Respect is not a catch phrase. It’s a state of mind. It goes along with humility, another quality you won’t find much on our streets anymore.

In so much of life these days we’re all talk, aren’t we? Politicians, priests, believers and non-believers. We put slogans on police cars and adverts on buses. But at times the state of life declines, and communities splinter and fragment.

Respect is an unpopular idea. Humility is not applauded.

Except by God. He puts his hands together every time we look out for one another. Every time we listen to another and set them above ourselves the angels open another bottle of champagne. So much comedy and entertainment today is founded on pulling people down, and in some ways we deserve it, we have a celebrity culture where we love to watch unreal people being more and more destructive in front of a camera – a reality based on one-upmanship.

It’s all a sham. Society cannot survive without respect and care for one another, corrupt regimes always collapse.

How do we measure up? Do we build others up, or tear them down?

It’s worth noting that Jesus could humble himself because he was very sure of himself. Perhaps we find it difficult to humble ourselves now because so many of us have no idea who we are. We define our lives by comparing them with others. This hymn (see Bible ref. above) in the letter to a bunch of Philippians was written because in Philippi there were 2 classes of christian – the haves and the have-nots. This song was a reminder to the rich christians that Jesus made himself smaller, more humble, encouraging them to do the same.

We can be sharp tongued and quick-witted, and I’m up there with the worst. But I know that on those few occasions when I lower myself and lift someone else up, somebody up there likes me. In the Message, Jesus is quoted as saying “You care for others is the measure of your greatness.” What do you think?

1. Gossiping, backbiting and backstabbing are as prevalent in the church as they are outside of it. Do you think this statement is true?
2. We can’t force others to be humble – we can only do that to ourselves. Frustrating, isn’t it? What do you think?
3. Many of us complain about reality shows, yet we’re still fascinated by them. I certainly am. What about you, do you get drawn in?
4. Who do you find it hard to respect?
5. Did the clip make you think about anything else?

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  1. Jennie Cain says:

    That's one of my favourite Austen scenes. Knightley's speech to her on Box Hill is epic.

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