Self-Righteousness: That’s an Ego Trip!

Something I am surrounded with is self-righteousness, whether in the battle with myself or in the words of others. I am not too proud to admit that at times I come off as self-righteous, I am human after-all. I see the world through my eyes, my experiences, and my paradigms. I also notice this is prevelant around me, in the words of others. Just who do we think we are?

I think a form of self-righteousness is people that try to ‘speak for God’. They speak words, from a text of scripture, that can come off as self-righteous…like they have all the answers. I read the same text and I am man enough to admit I have nothing more than you do…just the words of God in my current context, trying to make sense of those words in a 2000 world. I have seen people define spirituality in terms of religion & rules which is thusly their interpretation of the words read. They almost act like they have it figured out. When I look at their interpretation I see flaws and see human error. The same thing I see in myself when I try to define these ‘words of God’. I mean some things are obvious that I read but some things are open to interpretation. How do we ‘do church’; what’s the paradigm? A question I have been asking.

I noticed a lot about people in the past few days when looking at myself. I have come up with grand ideas and those ideas make me feel proud. In my pride I am a fool. I begin acting like I have it all figured out but in reality I have not learned something you could not have. I do not have it all figured out when to your exclusion I have all the answers. I am a human remember.

Around me I have seen the same problem exploding. People think they are right to the exclusion of the other. Little do they know, they are obviously both wrong. How is it someone can think they are right and you are wrong? Ego? Pride? Selfishness? It’s funny but the example that keeps me grounded is that of forgiveness, taught by Jesus. Forgiveness, as taught by Jesus, doesn’t say someone is right but that even the wronged have the right to even ground with you. People want to use excuses like ‘where is their repentance?’ They don’t notice that in their self-righteousness they actually refuse to forgive or allow the wrong party even ground, why? Because they are better than them.

I have seen this around me quite a bit lately and notice that only pride is behind it. Some people actually do believe they are better than the next person, that God has their best interest at heart as compared to the person that wronged them and for some odd reason God does not have their best interest at heart. Somehow in their confusion they can’t realize God loves them both equally and shows no partiality in judgement. However, we are human and we do have partiality.

Do you think you are right to hold the flaws of someone else against them? In words we find self-righteousness, in action we find unrighteousness. I guess I am just sick of this attitude. Why can’t people forgive? In their refusal to forgive they accept their self-righteousness as God’s righteousness. They struggle with their very basis, the cross they were born through that signifies one thing…forgiveness. They, in their self-righteousness, exclude someone else thus abusing the very gift they were given. I am asking people to see if they are self-righteous and if they are…do something to change that attitude. Learn to forgive. Learn to treat people fairly. Get a grip on reality. It’s the battle against ourselves. Just maybe we will realize how much of this world is centred on ourselves.

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Should I stay or Should I go?

I was having quite the dilemma this week. I had met with the ‘Action Group’, a group I started to help others with ‘needs’, and found 4 members showed up. A couple of people could not make it but this number is a far cry from the amount of people at the beginning, 12 to 16. I went home after that meeting and can’t say I was too impressed…a little disappointed in all honesty. I posed that question to myself ‘should I stay or should I go’?

More people are actually withdrawing from the endeavor than are joining it. In a sense, I felt ambandoned. My wife and I talked about this and can see why people have left. There were at least 2 incidents where people have blown up in my face over small things since this group began. One issue was ‘prayer’ and the next issue was ‘addressing a need’. I saw how these people allowed others to dis-believe what I was doing, I felt discredited. I haven’t been in church for about 2 weeks and I still will miss another week. Those same people that doubt have found some foundation to doubt more, ‘oh, he’s not even in church’. So what was once a good 12 people had dwindled to 4 last meeting (2 could not make it). Can’t help but feel a little upset.

I then thought about something obvious. I am having these troubles because I am actually doing something, those who do nothing face nothing. Prior to starting this group I was out drinking and doing ‘whatever’, never once did I face any criticism. Since starting this group week after week has been quite the test, people seem to be putting me through the ringer. I really looked at the fact it was easier on me doing nothing than when I was doing something. Kinda troubling to be honest. I guess at that point, after that meeting, I just got sick of the lack of effort and the criticism. I notice my wife and I are getting stuck doing every endeavor, people bring ideas and leave them to us, and all I can say is where is their responsibility? Where is their careful review of the very ideas they bring?

At the point of quitting and ‘feeling’ alone I figured how can I give up? I could go back and do absolutely nothing for no one and not feel satisfied. That would also require I leave church since I promised I wouldn’t come back and just look ‘religious’ like I did for years. I had decided I would stay and just be who I am. If people don’t like it or what it is I am doing they can turn their heads and ignore me. I guess I am happier with less people who have an idea what it is I am getting at instead of having lots of people that don’t get it. I realized that I have to make people more responsible for what they bring to the group. We have to really look at these ideas we bring and analyze them until we get a good answer to a ‘need’. The person who brings it is solely responsible for getting people involved.

I feel a little better since the last meeting but I realized all the doubting of others is getting to me and driving me ‘crazy’. But I am too worried about what they think anyways and I have to let that go. All I can do is believe and that’s what I will do. Maybe I am examining this group too much but if I didn’t who would? I guess it was at the point of doubting myself that I realized I was losing a battle in faith. I really believe and try follow these words in all honesty, I make mistakes but I carry on. They may doubt but that’s not where I started from, I believe first and doubt second. Lots of good things have happened for the people involved and a careful examination tells me that in continuing even more things will change. It’s weird but I think every issue can be solved, I just believe that much in this endeavor and that God knows these ‘needs’ exist. I only have doubted, not in the solving of needs, but in the stupid questions people ask that lead only to limitations…only then have I even began to doubt.

What’s the blog saying? My faith is intact and my beliefs continue to grow as I read through the gospels. I noticed my ideas have a strong backing from what I read in the gospels. So should I stay or should I go? I think I will stay, in faith and not in doubt.

Too be Religious or not to be Religious?

I have started this ‘Action’ group, and as I suspected, people haven’t yet caught onto the idea. Actually, I have hit as much brickwalls of opposition as I have seen votes for the idea. Is it just me or is it like pulling teeth to get people to actually ‘care’ about other people in need? They’ll commit to prayer and the likes but to actually lending a ‘helping hand’ seems to be an obstacle. All I am asking is what is in the scriptures, nothing too unreal, and that means your free time and using your ‘disposable’ income. Roadblocks. They want to look religious but ask them to act religious, well…that’s an uphill battle.

Acting Religious? How do I figure? Quite simple really. At two various times some simple things came up, bible study (during the meeting) & prayer (before and after the meeting). I have addressed both issues and said ‘no’. Why? I just don’t want to become like everyone else, I just don’t want to sell this idea short. Doesn’t make sense? Here it goes. Those things are done to look ‘Christian’, in public anyways.

Bible study, in group discussions, I have noticed lead to varying views and debate…what’s the use of that? So we can divide ourselves over something miniscule? And of what edification does it provide to talk about something and not just do it? I ask people to attend church and read the bible but still they persist a bible study needed to be done. I say read it at home and when you come here put it into practice. This is Practicality Street not Church Avenue.

The prayer issue (recent) is something I hold dear to. Jesus teaches in Matthew 6 about prayer in solitude, alone with God…true sincerity. Now we’d be having prayer for simple reasons like ‘other groups do this’ and ‘to look Christian’ but in all actuality it’s not quite that sincere. The person who proposed it I asked her to pray and she said she didn’t know how. Don’t know how? She was a new ‘christian’ and not adept in the art of public prayer so I let someone, a pastor’s daughter, say it. It flowed like words from a religious tongue, adept in the art of saying the right thing. It was then I knew that if we do this then it’s so the people in this group can be ‘sefl-righteous’, have the look and feel of Christianity and very possibly get away with doing as little as possible. I am saying ‘no’ to this being a part of the group. I still stick to pray at home about these issues and ask God to show you what to do, even during the act of helping.

I have noticed people won’t attend this group because I say these things, they need some validation of their Christianity to be a part, even before they will help a single person. I am absolutely 100% behind this one sentence: ‘having the look of godliness, they deny the power thereof (behind it)’. Am I going for the ‘looks’ or the actual power ‘behind it’? That sentence speaks of true sincerity. Actually if you read into a lot of Paul’s works and the book of James you see this point reitirated in various ways. The life of Jesus smacks of this theme continually (almost the whole gospels are devoted to Jesus’ arguements with the Pharisees). If you are looking to validate your Christianity at my expense, you barked up the wrong tree.

So in my weird bemusings I provide 2 things: A stumbling block to the ‘Churches’ way of doing things and thus they are offended. Second, I am accepting to those the church offended and offer a ‘helping hand’ back to the kingdom. Strange but I based everything on the gospels and all the good things that come out of this endeavor I have only God to thank.

The 6 Year Sentences

I find it funny that bible is full of colorful depiction about numbers, like 40 days and nights anf 7 days a week. It also seems that number 6 is one of unfinished business, the number of man in revelations…incomplete I guess. Well I just served two 6 year sentences that are finding some finalization in this second chance…call it rolling the dice.

I did a 6 year stint (93-99) in a church growing from a ‘new-born’ Christian full of zeal, judgement, rules and did everything to the letter of the law. It turned my life right around living with people, and attending church with people, that wanted something better in life. I was from a poor neighborhood with poor ideals to boot…if I hadn’t of went to church at that time I probably would of wasted away or ended up in ‘real’ jail.

The first 3 years (93-95) were great and I think I broke a record for the amount of times I attended church in one year (something like 280 times). I was living with a Pastor and my brother in those first 3 years and they were awesome. I had some great spiritual experiences and did most of my learning and reading in that time; must of read the bible like 3 times front to back. I was travelling all over Saskatchewan and meeting cool people from all over the place. They were the same as me and I guess it was very communal (in that sense). I guess you could say my introduction to Christ helped me to get a grade 12 and to get some ambition. I startd attending Bible school, that’s what I wanted to do, be like the ‘great’ spiritual leaders I seen on the stages. It was weird but looking back the rules gave me some structure.

The next 3 years (96-99) I attended and graduated from Bible College (BTH) while living with my younger brother and some others in that time. I had matured and maintained the same values for some years but that all changed when I noticed that my friends and I were changing with the times, but others weren’t. My brother had been persecuted for having spiked hair, tattoos, and rings, he also played in a rock band (still Christian lyrics). My close friend was having struggles with church authority over his life and the fact he got his girlfriend pregnant (and life after that)…they were being pressured to marry but refused. These 2 people lived with me and were always in some trouble with the church…myself I was the ‘golden’ boy and had a promising career if I kept my head where it was. I couldn’t ignore the plight of 2 ‘trouble-makers’ who I had known and seen on a daily basis. I spoke up and that was literally the end of me also. I noticed we got judged in a lot of ways, most of them unjustified, but I think that’s what authority does when it gets self-righteous and you start having some knowledge. We all quit church at about the same time, I guess you just get sick of the whole mess when you have no means of resolution and nowhere to turn.

From 99-2005 (6 years) I traversed the earth a vagabond, in a new world to me where I had lost touch. I played in a band for a while but that fizzled. I started drinking and smoking the New Year’s Eve of 1999 I think…of all places I was in the hood…where I started. I hung around with this crowd, that crowd, and whatever crowd was doing something. I attended school anf got a BAdmin degree. I met my wife in this time around 2001 and can’t say I picked the wrong person. I was going nowhere fast but that was better than being stagnant. I drank with all of my friends, most of them had left church too, and I continued for 5 years straight (every weekend), went to every bar, and had my share of troubles because of it (well not so much me but the people with me, but I was there too ). I have my share of stories, you pick, about sex, drugs, booze, fights, partying all night, and whatever else comes with this scene. But I learned a lot. Not a year went by, or even a day, that I wasn’t learning something that in the previous 6 years I had denied myself. Was I doing the right thing? That’s for the eye of the beholder I think…but yeah you could say the church and I had lost sight of one another. But I knew this all would play well for what was next.

Now were here in present day 2006, ironically it was New Year’s Eve 2005 when I decided to cash my chips in again and play a new game. I came back to church but those 12 years have helped shape everything I do now. I have a very biblically based outlook on life but I haven’t lost that ‘human’ touch either. I started a group when I came back only because I couldn’t stand the same old church I was used too. I started an ‘Action’ group to help solve ‘real’ problems for people that suffer when no one does anything. I got back to the basics and read the bible without ‘doctrination’ in the forefront of my interpretation, I guess I found what I was seeking for and gave it to the 2 ‘trouble-makers’ who embraced it gladly. I found my calling in two ways: biblical teaching (first 6 years) and in the ‘human’ touch (last 6 years). Let’s call this the 7th year for both of them…now I am doing something biblical and giving it back to the people that really need it…’those who are sick need a physician’, ‘the son of man came to seek and save the lost’.

I just noticed from my reading Jesus was both the ‘son of God’ and the ‘son of man’, for some odd reason he never lost or denied either. Jesus was concerned with the human plight and our struggles with every thing under the sun. Jesus never denied his humaness nor his Godness, as evidenced by his teachings that deal with our humanity (how did he know it so well?) and even added the slant of God’s ‘eyes’ on the situation. In the end, we find a God that knows us so well and actually cares about that plight…mostly evidenced by his love for us on that cross. It’s something to say ‘you want to be like Jesus’ but to actually do it…well that’s one for the open of heart to see. You have to deal with humanity, help people, and be realistic. Do you have it in you!