I drive a certain route to my bible study on Wednesday mornings at 7:00. Every time I get to my destination, I’m always in a disturbed condition. There is an intersection along the way that has two lanes, one for the cars turning on to the freeway and the left lane for those who are going straight. Because there are so many vehicles that are headed onto the freeway, that line is very long and the left lane has few cars. Every week the same thing happens, the cars in the left lane move quickly up to the place where cars are entering the freeway…and they turn their blinkers on to get in the turn lane. Every week I’ve had the same reaction…ANGER. Those drivers just feel so entitled and don’t have any sense of decorum in traffic like the rest of us. I’d get to bible study and many weeks I haven’t let it go and let my mind rest. (Another glaring weakness of an obsessive compulsive)
Finally a few weeks ago, I got hold of my sense of sensibilities and had a chat with Greg. Look what you’re doing, “Mr. nice guy”. THIS is the kindness and deference of which you have posted so often…. or should I say, ”pontificated?” For heavens sake, you’re right at 70 years old and this is the stuff you get riled up about. How pathetic!!!! Man, if people knew who you really were, what you really thought…they may think differently of you. And there you go again…worrying about peoples perception of you as opposed to a consistent desire to honor God…really…let’s get real with some perspective.
Since I’m having this conversation with you, Greg, how about a little self-examination. They say this is good for the soul. Let’s begin with, oh say, your mean spirited attitudes toward people you don’t particularly care for, maybe because they don’t think like you, or their manner is too coarse or off putting or they don’t dress appropriately enough for you. No, you don’t say it, but oh boy, you sure do think it, and it really doesn’t matter what might set you off…because it’s all about you, isn’t that pretty close to accurate? Such a need to be right….to be liked. ( So far, I’m not liking my exam too much) Oh sure, you have your good days and for the most part, you’re conveniently kindly, but even that’s sporadic really. At best, you’re full of a entitlement and puffed up pronouncements….albeit unspoken.
You’ve nurtured these behaviors, mental processes and attitudes through the years and honed them with a unrivaled nuanced proficiency. These matters of righteous indignation, mindless criticism, disapproving looks and silent disgust come through an undisciplined spiritual life cloaked in lifetime tradition of aping Christian culture. Look at the times you take pleasure in mentally telling someone off or think unkind thoughts and wallow in them. You have become use to using harsh hurtful words, not often…but often enough to become accustom to them and think that repetition graduates them to civility. (This is worse than a prostate exam…OUCH)
A mean look or short, hurtful retort to Pam, a quick judgment of someone in the grocery store of whom you have no earthly understanding of what they’re going through or the road they’ve traveled, but that doesn’t really matter to you…because you’re…well you’re special…and they’re not. Of course nobody can hear or see what your thinking as you smile your way thru your superficial day. There is one thing of which you can be sure…at some point …no one will have to look to see this…your heart will give you up with your tongue.
So how about a little ”time out” to think about things that do matter….like justice, mercy, kindness, widows, orphans, the helpless, the suffering,….oh and how about the beauty of creation, salvation, redemption…there’s a couple you can set your mind on…and that’s just for starters. And what does God ask of you, Greg?
God asks us to think on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Yes… act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
Eleanor Roosevelt had it right when she said…..
“You shouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.