I know the title of this post is a bit jarring for some. It’s not intended to be anything short of how raw this is. The intention isn’t shock…but instead it is just being honest about something I’ve learned and feel strongly about. There’s this guy I know who’s had a history of being incredibly severe in his tone. He has hidden behind “just being real and/or honest,” as an excuse to say whatever he thinks about others or the world around him in general. He has done great damage to his relationships with this problem. Ironically, two things that he always claims to hate are judgmentalism and hypocrisy. Who is this person? Dare I call him out publicly? I think I should…although it won’t be an easy thing to do…
It’s probably no great mystery that I’m referring to myself. I really have always struggled with negativity, jealousy, envy, covetousness, and judgmentalism (among many other things). Obviously, hypocrisy should be in there as well, I guess. I say, “struggled,” but that’s not even really true. To struggle means you are at least trying. I have always embraced it more than struggled against it. I think I have shrouded it, even to myself, behind a veil of supposed righteousness…thinking that I had a responsibility to “call out injustice” whenever and wherever I see it. If my goal were to simply “call things out” with the best intentions for others or the world around me, then it would at least be somewhat noble and courageous. But, in all honesty, I don’t think I’ve had those intentions. I believe I did it because I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed feeling superior to others (not that I really am…I just like to fool myself). It’s likely part of an insecure person that’s trying to establish more comfort in their own skin. But no matter what, it hasn’t ever been in the right spirit.
Some time ago, I was with my family and a friend, and in speaking to the friend I made an awful comment about someone that we all knew. I then said something like, “I just calling it like I see it.” I became concerned about the way my friend must have been thinking of me and attempted a halfhearted apology. They were gracious, but it was clear to me that they saw right through my fake contrition. We simply went on and that was that. BUT — I’ve never forgotten that moment. I’ve never forgotten the effect that it had on them. I’ve never forgotten how angry and bitter my heart was as I said it.
Recently, I was listening to the Christian radio station during the prayer request time. As the lady read off a requests, a couple of them jumped out at me. Both of these were situations that sounded like “hard luck” stories. As I listened to the details, I began to piece together a diagnosis of the person. In my mind, these two different individuals that had made these requests were deadbeat, lazy, substance using, irresponsible good-for-nothings that needed to quit making a mess of their lives and then trying to get God and everyone else to bail them out. WOW… I thought about that for a moment or two…and then longer…and before I knew it, they began to pray on the radio. I became seriously convicted. I couldn’t believe how little I thought of my fellow human beings whom I had never even met. What’s more is that this happened after I had suffered a life-changing injury that has had far reaching effects on my household and our future. I felt terrible in that instant. But then I was comforted…because God loves deadbeats. He loves irresponsible good-for-nothings. He also loves judgmental jackasses. I found myself joining with them in prayer. Confessing to God that all I knew was what had been said by the lady on the radio. I had no idea how these people got into these situations…and I didn’t need to know. Truth be told, all of us contribute a great deal to the problems in our own lives. No news flash there. We make our own messes and then feel like we are the victims of the world being against us. If we only prayed for those that were totally innocent bystanders that got caught completely off guard, then we would pray for little children, animals…and well…that may be it.
The Bible says plainly that we are to confront fellow believers regarding our behavior when necessary (1 Corinthians 5). Also, after Jesus said, “judge not,” He gave explicit instructions on how to deal with each other. His intention was never for us to turn a blind eye to everything. It was to not assume the worst in others. It was to think well of others. This has been something I’ve been trying to practice for a while now. TRYING is the key word. I’m working on it. I have found that there are certain things I’m harsh about and others that I gloss over. I suspect this is true for all of us. The key is not to beat ourselves up too badly over this…but to recognize the reality of it and be compassionate to our fellow imperfect human beings.
Image taken from: http://en.paperblog.com/respectable-sins-94040/