Saturday, June 17, 2006
"Well, I Would Never Do That..."
Six little words I try never to say: "Well, *I* would never do that!"
Probably I'd uttered those words 200 times before God called me on it. Way back in 1993, Tom got a new job here in our present state, so for 10 weeks, Naomi and I remained back in Nevada while Tom searched for a house here for us to buy. He mailed us a video tape which he took after walking through this house (our house now) with a realtor and when I saw the huge collection of junk in the attic, I said, "I would never let my attic look like that!"
Huh. Two years and tons of yard sale and curb finds later, our attic looked nearly identical to the junk-shop-gone-bad way it had when the previous owners lived here.
Ouch. Unknowingly, I had made myself out to be a liar. Unknowingly I was displaying a whole lot of pride when I said those "I would never do that," words in the first place. Pride believes, "Other people may mess up, but I would never mess up as badly as they did." And Pride especially loves to throw darts at leaders--religious and otherwise--in the public eye, especially when it has never held such a huge leadership position, itself.
For a few more years, I still blithely went around shooting my mouth off in similar fashion. "I would never go online. I would never hang-up on a tele-marketer while he's still reciting his spiel. I would never all-out yell at Naomi. I would never," well, you get the idea.
Then along came the years when I finally got around to letting God change me, instead of me always, albeit subconsciously, trying to change God... and other people... and the way Life tends to go. One by one, God begin to address areas of my life where I was blowing it and eventually, this "I would never do that" area came up. Firmly, He pointed out the extreme pride in such statements--and the extreme ignorance, too.
He'd ask me, "How do you know how you would act in new-to-you situations? What makes you so certain you would not act as others have, given the same opportunity or hard times? And why do you feel so comfortable tisk-tisking people whose backgrounds you do not know and do not understand? And whatever happened to, 'There, but for the grace of God, go I?'"
(Trust me, anyone who says God never lectures people, well, they've probably got a few lectures coming their way.)
Anyway, now if I even think about saying those six words, there comes upon me such a strong conviction--well, I'll just say it-- to shut-up. After which, I'm reminded to seek to understand rather than seeking to judge. And to seek to remember that I have done many things I thought I'd never do--and I will probably do some more.
God can be pretty strict sometimes.... Personally, I'm glad He is.