29 September 2009

Condescending Jerk Merit Badge

I'm sure I've earned mine many times over. I can be a cynical, condescending, judgmental fool all too often. And I hate that.

“In judging others one labors in vain, often errs, and easily falls into sin, but in judging and examining self one always labors to good purpose.” -- Thomas a Kempis

It can be something as simple as one's taste in music or choice of attire. It can be their political or religious affiliation. It can things they don't even have control over. Why do we look down on others? It really all boils down to pride (as I believe most everything does).

The reasons we look down on others are inconsequential. We are called to love. No matter how big or how small the subject at hand is, the answer is unconditional love.

I'm making it a real priority in my life to daily give serious thought to how I treat the socially awkward, the marginalized, and those who disagree with me. I'm trying to expunge the "Us Versus The World" mindset that I have (the "Us" being the church). I want to look past points of contention.

I'm not arguing for a pluralistic or relativistic idealism. I believe there is Truth. I'm just saying that, first and foremost, loving people is what we are called to do.

"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults--unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor." -- Matthew 7.1-5 (The Message)

Amen, Maranatha, Amen.

[mccracken]

1 comment:

Thom Stark said...

This is good and rightheaded. I would just qualify that the advocacy of unconditional love can sometimes work in favor of oppression. God is not impartial. God sides with the marginalized over against those who push them to the margins, even while God offers an invitation to the oppressors to relinquish their power and come inhabit God's new center.

Not that you're in danger of doing this, but pride and indignation must be sharply distinguished, or else our unconditional love is just, in the generous vernacular of Rich Mullins, "misguided piety."