Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pride (soap journal #6)


S) Be friendly with everyone. Don't be proud and feel that you are smarter than others. Make friends with ordinary people. (Romans 12:16)
O) I know I am proud and look down on people I think are foolish. I don't like making friends with 'ordinary' people--I only want to be around people I look up to. This is wrong.
A) I need to look for more opportunities to make friends with people I may otherwise overlook because of my pride.
P) I don't know how to truly feel I am not smarter than others. If you have given me wisdom, then I need to always give you glory and not myself. Help me love others with true humility--it can only come from you.

When I first wrote this, I was really struggling with how much I should hang out with our neighbors and how many of their drinking parties I should attend. "Bad company corrupts good morals" is a principle that is pretty well shoved down your throat if you've grown up Christian, and I certainly wouldn't say there isn't truth in it. But the pride that goes with that--the haughty attitude that your better than someone--that's a killer, and it slips in so easily. So this entry was addressing that when I wrote it 5 years ago. It gave me the freedom to attend the parties and try to make friends, and not to be totally paranoid that I would lose my "good morals" by doing so.

This haughty attitude though, the one I thought I was freed from...well, it came back to stare me in the face when I read this anew today. Whenever I'm transcribing these journal entries, I go back to the chapter in the Bible it came from and read it in context (usually in the Young's Literal Translation) to see if there is a different perspective that comes to light. This is part that struck me so hard it hurt:

Bless those persecuting you; bless, and curse not...become not wise in your own conceit;
giving back to no one evil for evil; providing right things before all men. If possible -- so far as in you -- with all men being in peace; not avenging yourselves, beloved, but give place to the wrath, for it hath been written, `Vengeance [is] Mine, I will recompense again, saith the Lord;' if, then, thine enemy doth hunger, feed him; if he doth thirst, give him drink...

It hurt because, for possibly the first time in my life, I feel like I have enemies...people who I used to trust, who I don't trust anymore. People who are completely against and see as evil ideas that I support and see as good. People who don't have my back...and they are all Christians. And I was telling myself that loving my enemies does not mean I have to hang around with them, thus justifying my desire to avoid contact as much as possible. But this text gives no room for that. When I read it, I knew my refusal to hang around conservative Christians was my way of punishing them for what I saw as arrogance. How ironic. Love is the only way out of this mess--and trust that God can set things right. I can't be the avenger, even when my hurt and pain tells me it's my job.

And so, I come back to square one. Someday I hope true humility will bloom in my heart; I will hang onto that hope.