I realized that I have problems with pride.
Maybe pride is the wrong word. I mean, obviously I I struggle with pride. But the particular problem I’ve been thinking about is this. Sometimes I find that there are things going on that don’t affect me at all and yet I find that I have very strong opinions about them. To the point of getting angry or arguing about it.
I dunno if this is making any sense. But one example is other ministries in the church that I’m not involved with at all. For some reason, sometimes I catch myself having strong opinions about how they should do things. Which is actually OK, I think. But sometimes I catch myself getting angry at those people who aren’t doing things the way I want, or getting into arguments about these things.
Why am I like this? Does it affect me at all? No. Is it that I care about the people involved? I may care about them, but when I think about it, that’s not the primary motivation for my actions. The real reason is, I have this need to be right, and to impose that on other people, even when it doesn’t affect me. And in my opinion, that comes from pride.
I’m going to make a grand sweeping statement and say that any time people make a stand for “truth” that doesn’t have as its primary motivation love, it’s pride. Is that bold? I dunno, that’s what I think.
Like those weirdos that come to White Plaza and preach that everyone is going to Hell. I’ve never understood these people. What are they trying to accomplish? Are they trying to convince people? That doesn’t really make sense. They believe the most effective way to convince people at an intellectual center like Stanford is to say they’re going to Hell?
I really don’t think they care about convincing people, to be honest. I really don’t think their primary motivation is compassion for the lost. I think their primary motivation is a feeling that they have to uphold some notion of “truth” that they have. And in the end that’s pride, and it comes out in their language, which is essentially, “we’re saved; you’re not.”
That goes for anyone who says “___ is going to hell,” be it gays, pro-choicers, or whoever. What’s the point of saying something like that? Are you trying to convince them? That’s perhaps the least optimal way to do that. Is it because you love them? It’s the same thing. They don’t care about love, they care about “truth” and they’re less concerned about loving or convincing people than feeling better about themselves by believing everyone else is worse. By saying they’re going to hell.
Anyway, I have a big problem with people who take a stand for truth without compassion. We need to stick up for truth, but it needs to be grounded in love. And I think that affects the way in which we stand up for truth. We’re not going to be belittling. We’re not going to be pointlessly confrontational. We’re not going to write letters to the editor or debate publicly in ways that inflame or inhibit reasonable discussion. It will be in a way that seeks to convince, not through violence or anger but through the weight of truth. I dunno. I just think truth without compassion is messed up.
I’m straying far from my original topic. What I realized sitting in bed last night was that I’ve got problems. I have such strong opinions about how other people should do things that have nothing to do with me. And there’s something wrong with that because I know it’s not out of love. It’s pride. And that’s what I realized.