|So Jack and Jill are friends. Jill has gone over to Jack's house for a party and Jack comes in a little later with Jane. Now, Jane and Jill have never met before, but both speak English, both are fully capable of introducing themselves, and they shake hands without outside prompting and meet. Jack gets a little flustered and apologizes profusely, "I'm so sorry! I forgot you guys didn't know each other or else I would have introduced you." Jill and Jane stammer "no problems" and cast their eyes down in embarrassment.|
Why was Jack embarrassed? There was a long unspoken rule of courtesy that was broken and he was afraid that one or both of his friends were offended or mad at him for it. Why were the girls embarrassed? Because Jack's reaction betrayed the fact that he didn't trust them to be able to handle introductions themselves... he accused them of being mad at him when they'd been perfectly fine and hadn't thought of the faux pas at all. They had thought of it now, though, of course, and so follow snide remarks about guys being throughtless to lighten the mood.
Or how about this - how many times a day do you hear this conversation? "Thank you so much!" "Oh, it was nothing." "No, you were really great!" "Oh all right, well thanks."
What's that all about? I mean really. Words have been stripped bare of all their meaning. Phrases, no, entire conversations tossed around without any real purpose or value. We're afraid to take a compliment for fear of seeming proud for something worth being proud of. And by the end of the conversation, this plastic humility with which we've cloaked ourselves is practically transparent to the underlying fear of man and striving for approval. But both parties are so busy with the dressing process that neither notice that it's a waste of time. It's a dance that we feel obligated to take part in, but in the end, everyone's sweating nervously and no one's had any fun.
Or what about the homosexuals? The pro-choicers, the drug addicts, the eating disordered? They get all in a tizzy for being told they're wrong because they think they're being judged as people. The problem is, so much of the time, they ARE, even by those who swear up and down that it's out of love for the man, hatred for the sin. Do we really differentiate as much as we say we do? I want to be confused by the accusation that I did not speak out of love; not scramble to find a viable excuse for my words because the gut motivation for my words is less than flattering to myself AND to them as human beings.
We talked about the love of God at Bible study on Tuesday. How God loves Himself more than He loves us... and that it would be inherently Wrong to do otherwise. I had a conversation with Dan today and he took it further - that the most loving thing that a perfect being can do is to create beings whose sole purpose is to bask in His perfection.
I wish I could just will away all the fear. No more heartless apologies for mishaps that don't warrant them; apologies that are offered not really because of the insensitivity but because you worry that someone thought you insensitive. No more meaningless compliments and receipts thereof. No more self-righteous judgments that spawn fear and expectation of more truth spread by candy coated mock piety. Just glorying in the beauty of God, His creation, and the ways we bear His image. I'm just as prone to it as anyone... it's just that I'm starting to notice it for what it is... enough to be irritated by it when I catch it in myself and others; not early enough to stop it.