Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Self-Righteousness: That's an Ego Trip!

Something I am surrounded with is self-righteousness, whether in the battle with myself or in the words of others. I am not too proud to admit that at times I come off as self-righteous, I am human after-all. I see the world through my eyes, my experiences, and my paradigms. I also notice this is prevelant around me, in the words of others. Just who do we think we are?

I think a form of self-righteousness is people that try to 'speak for God'. They speak words, from a text of scripture, that can come off as self-righteous...like they have all the answers. I read the same text and I am man enough to admit I have nothing more than you do...just the words of God in my current context, trying to make sense of those words in a 2000 world. I have seen people define spirituality in terms of religion & rules which is thusly their interpretation of the words read. They almost act like they have it figured out. When I look at their interpretation I see flaws and see human error. The same thing I see in myself when I try to define these 'words of God'. I mean some things are obvious that I read but some things are open to interpretation. How do we 'do church'; what's the paradigm? A question I have been asking.

I noticed a lot about people in the past few days when looking at myself. I have come up with grand ideas and those ideas make me feel proud. In my pride I am a fool. I begin acting like I have it all figured out but in reality I have not learned something you could not have. I do not have it all figured out when to your exclusion I have all the answers. I am a human remember.

Around me I have seen the same problem exploding. People think they are right to the exclusion of the other. Little do they know, they are obviously both wrong. How is it someone can think they are right and you are wrong? Ego? Pride? Selfishness? It's funny but the example that keeps me grounded is that of forgiveness, taught by Jesus. Forgiveness, as taught by Jesus, doesn't say someone is right but that even the wronged have the right to even ground with you. People want to use excuses like 'where is their repentance?' They don't notice that in their self-righteousness they actually refuse to forgive or allow the wrong party even ground, why? Because they are better than them.

I have seen this around me quite a bit lately and notice that only pride is behind it. Some people actually do believe they are better than the next person, that God has their best interest at heart as compared to the person that wronged them and for some odd reason God does not have their best interest at heart. Somehow in their confusion they can't realize God loves them both equally and shows no partiality in judgement. However, we are human and we do have partiality.

Do you think you are right to hold the flaws of someone else against them? In words we find self-righteousness, in action we find unrighteousness. I guess I am just sick of this attitude. Why can't people forgive? In their refusal to forgive they accept their self-righteousness as God's righteousness. They struggle with their very basis, the cross they were born through that signifies one thing...forgiveness. They, in their self-righteousness, exclude someone else thus abusing the very gift they were given. I am asking people to see if they are self-righteous and if they are...do something to change that attitude. Learn to forgive. Learn to treat people fairly. Get a grip on reality. It's the battle against ourselves. Just maybe we will realize how much of this world is centred on ourselves.

4 comments:

ty said...

We've learned the "Lord's prayer", the "our Father" from such a young age that we recite it almost without thought. Now a'daysI always get stuck on, and sometimes can only choke out the phrase ". . .and forgives us our debts as we forgive our debtors . . ." knowing all the names faces that I've claimed I've forgiven, but in reality that forgiveness is only churchy words, and deep down I'm still embittered and angry at them. If we can't forgive them, as God already has, how can we grasp his forgiveness for us, better yet; have we truly grasped his forgiveness and understood his sacrifice and love if we can't forgive others? The longer I'm a christian, the greater the horror seems to unveil itself around this sole issue. After forgiving, its easy to love and serve. Its easy to serve those i don't know, those strangers in need, but those I'm close to, those who by their very human nature have had opportunity to offend, as I've had opportunity to offend them, are much much harder to forgive.

Anonymous said...

Where do you draw the line? Do we never hold anyone accountable for acts of violence against ourselves, family, others? Do we always turn the other cheek as it were? Or is this really just about personal differences and flaws, perhaps emotional wounds that were inflicted in unfortunate circumstances or? I do think there is a difference... If Jesus himself could get upset in the temple for how they had disrespected the holy place, then there is a place for accountability. It does also say that if we cannot forgive then we also will not be forgiven. Yet, how do you see the two, righteous action by Jesus and also his words about forgiveness. I think that once you confront the one who harmed you and live in that state forever then that is a state of unforgiveness, but I don't believe that processing through the emotional pain after someone has violated you is wrong. It only becomes wrong when we choose to live there indefinitely without a course of action of letting go and forgiving. Forgiveness itself is a process especially if someone has been personally violated. The initial reaction of any human is not to reach out and forigve the other person in such circumstances, but rather to survive and then to have to process through other emotions before attaining forgiveness. Cloaked words can hide the reality of what people have gone through, I would wonder about the harshness of what a person has gone through before I tell them that they are not trying...

Humming Bird said...

Where is this really coming from? If part of it is for me, then I hope that one day you will know that what I wrote on my blog is true...time will only tell.

SocietyVs said...

I understand where these comments are coming from, I do have a heart and I comprehend the process of pain.
As far as the righteous act of Jesus driving people out of the temple, well if you look at that closely he drives them out for 'selling' stuff out of the synagogue, stuff that was used for sacrificial purposes. They turned the house of prayer into a business. As far as forgiveness it is pretty cut and dry in the story Jesus tells to Peter about forgiving 'your brother' 70 X 7, if he has wronged you.
For church discipline who tows the line, I or you? Who makes that decision over someone? Even the adultress was given forgiveness, and he who was 'without sin' may cast the first stone. There is discipline but if someone is trying to change their life there is not judgement but forgiveness.
I know I am coming off as a little harsh at times but maybe something has to be said for that approach. I am not judging someone by saying what I am saying, I am just pointing to a higher value. I will be confronted on this issue in several ways but I am saying this beforehand to let people know that I am being sincere and I want community not conflict. I will face these issues 'head on'to my exclusion from people's lives...it's already happening.
I guess all I want is people to forgive and that's about it. How that works out I do not know. But I will keep asking until they can.