We see in a mirror darkly.
— We have such a limited understanding of the ways of God.
— Even more significant is that we have a limited appreciation of our limited understanding.
— And in our ignorance about our ignorance, we are quite comfortable judging God when life doesn’t align with our own expectations.
— When we try to understand an eternal God through our own limited perspective, His ways can seem either grossly unfair or terribly foolish.
— When life turns harsh, and our religious pretense is stripped away, in our hearts we believe we could do better, we believe we would be more merciful, be more fair than God.
— We believe these elevated things about ourselves and yet there is little evidence in our lives to justify that belief.
— It’s true we might be saddened and moved by the suffering of some but we do little to alleviate that suffering.
— More sobering still: the very fact we are moved and saddened by someone else’s suffering can cause us to see ourselves as a compassionate people — even if ultimately we do little to nothing to eliminate or alleviate that suffering.
— We drive by hurting people everyday where our only response is to divert our gaze so our conscience can not be pricked and we won’t be made uncomfortable.
— Should we stop? Better not; much too busy. Besides, we tell ourselves, any help we give them would result in further enabling whatever addiction they might have.
— And though we may be slow to step in and try to alleviate the pain and suffering of others, we are lightening quick in our judgements of God and others.
— We don’t hesitate to condemn those who don’t think, believe, dress, smell, carry-on, raise children, vote or keep their yard as we do.
— In our hearts and in our gossip we judge harshly the fellow worker who arrives late for a meeting but are exceedingly generous to ourselves and full of excuses when that late employee happens to be us.
— We write off our bad tempers or misdeeds to a bad headache or difficult circumstances, but secretly (or not so secretly) excoriate those whose bad day results in them turning on us.
— In a blink-of-an-eye, we condemn the reckless driver who cuts us off and speeds away. But how many times have we done the very same thing and excused ourselves because we were in a hurry?
— We deny our stomachs nothing and feel deprived or off our game if we miss a meal or have to settle for less.
— We believe we are special and that our comforts and provisions are not generously bestowed, but richly deserved.
— Everyone of us have done or said things of which we are ashamed, things we wish we could take back. But to us humans, those incidents, are just that: incidents. We write them off as aberrations in an otherwise, good life. I might tell the occasional white lie or half truth, but I’m not a liar. Sure, I’ve said things before that were unkind, and maybe even cruel, but that doesn’t make me a cruel person. That kindness I showed to my neighbor? That money I donated to this cause, that charity to which I occasionally donate time, THAT’s the real me.
— We have such a thin and fleeting understanding of what drives, irritates and compels us.
— Despite our lack of self awareness, somehow we have piercing “clarity” into what drives others and causes them to act as they do.
— The judgement of others comes easily to us.
— We are easily “put out” and grieve life’s inconveniences but don’t hesitate to look down on those for whom inconvenience defines their every waking moment.
— We wonder why they don’t they stop doing this or start doing that; why don’t they work harder, fix their schools and neighborhoods; be better husbands, wives, and sons and daughters?
— We are equally quick to judge our relatives, neighbors, co-workers, elected officials, etc., and we do it effortlessly, and at times, callously.
— We love winning more than laying down our lives for others.
— And those days when the stars don’t align and others fail to see and acknowledge our wonderfulness, we rail against the unfairness of it all and quickly and easily cast ourselves as victims: “What are you doing God,” we demand. “Didn’t you read the script? I’m the star of this story; I am supposed to come out on top!”
This was a penetrating morning meditation for me. Thank you.