Wednesday, February 27, 2013

On Self Importance

I realize that this is a cooking blog.  While I happen to align myself as a Christ-follower, I am far from perfect.  I typically do not write on the subject of faith, but occasionally I enjoy writing out my thoughts as a way to form my opinions.  What follows is not, in my opinion, coherent or theologically sound, but simply my thoughts.  Faith is a journey, and this is where I am today.  

Recently, our church has been staging a sort of campaign (not declared, but this is my perception).  The campaign seems to be aimed at discouraging typical "Christian" behavior.  It's refreshing.  In fact, I kind of want to stand up and cheer at the beginning (until I realize that I, too, am massively guilty). 

In the midst of our sermon series, I've also been ruminating on several different experiences in my life as well as various things I've read or heard in the past few weeks. 

Part of my inspiration for this post came from this article.  I've been thinking about it a lot lately.  I think what impacted me, in addition to the words in the article, were the comments.  Most were supportive, but there were a substantial percentage that were judgmental.  I think many times the Christian community really believes that those with a certain kind of sin should wear a scarlet letter for the rest of their lives, in essence.  That the result of sin should be a lifetime of punishment and damnation. 

I also found this blogpost interesting.  When I read it several years ago, I wasn't ready for it.  Now, I think I understand it a bit better. 

I'll never forget a conversation in a small group in which one of our members was recounting an experience she'd had with a roommate.  The roommate had found herself pregnant and unmarried.  After the initial shock, she was excited to become a mother and to welcome her baby.  The member of our group was scathing.  She couldn't believe that someone who found themselves in that position could be excited to have a baby unwed and with the obviousness of her sin.  The ugliness of that judgement will live with me forever. 
I think the root of judgement of others is self-importance.  I think telling everyone how busy we are is self-importance.  I think staying within our little Christian bubble is self-importance. I think telling ourselves that because we "follow the rules" [and tell ourselves we will be rewarded for good behavior] is self-importance.

I am as guilty as the next person.  Mostly because I hate self-important people. I hate judgmental people.  I hate typical "Christian" behavior.  Each and every time I think through this issue of self-importance, I realize that my sin is just as great as those who are self-important. 

My mom recently read an article in which a dad shared that he actually relished the times his children messed up.  He felt that he could show them more love in spite of  their behavior than he could when times were easy.  What a strong spiritual parallel.  I don't think God wants us to sin.  I do think, though, that sometimes the repentance and redemption bring us back to Him in a way that smooth sailing would not.  How much more proof can we show that we love [than loving in spite of behavior]?

I am reminded that there are 47 verses in the Bible about "dying to self". I haven't been able to find any that extol the virtues of those that judge the judgmental (darn). 

I am curious to see what you think.  I certainly don't have any answers, I just wanted to write out my thoughts. 

As Christians we are commanded to show truth and love.  I don't think we're doing a very good job, in some cases.  I don't want to bash Christians on the whole, but I think some of us would be quite surprised if Jesus lived in our current culture.  I don't think He'd behave the way we'd expect Him to.  At all. 

What do you think?


  1. Umm, want to know something awesome? That woman who wrote that article that you loved? That's my former youth pastor's wife and the woman who l ed me to Christ. She. Is. For. Real. I love love love her to pieces and am so thankful God is using her story in a huge way to reach others. Sarah is life and she breathes life. I appreciate your views above because I share them wholeheartedly. Let us not love in word...but with actions and truth. Yep.

  2. The following quote speaks to my heart:

    Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.

    ~ Currer Bell (Charlotte Bronte) Dec. 21st, 1847

    And someone once told me - "be careful of pointing a finger at someone - you will always have 3 others pointing back at you."

    Case in point: last night I was thinking about my boss, wondering how I would work with him today, knowing things about him that I do. The old anxiety and fear threatened to seep back into my heart. Kirsten, you know a little of of my experience with him. So you know to some degree how tough it has been. I started to have imaginary conversations with him in my head - all the great comebacks said immediatly which would silence him in humbleness and contriteness. This is so funny - God had a bit of a time out with me at this point. "Ah, Emily. You think you're less of a sinner? You think you don't need as much forgiveness? I'm calling you to see him as I see him - and I love him." Then he reminded me of Paul and his claim to being the worst sinner, which still perplexes me to some degree. Judging comes so easily at times. Sometimes I feel hardened and jaded. Thank God he's there to steer me right when I get off-track. I just hope I am always sensitive to his nudges.

  3. Very thought provoking. I think that's the goal, to be Christ-like without falling into the trap of thinking the answer is in typical Christian behavior. Whatever your do, God will not love you any more nor will he love you any less. So hard to wrap my mind around it all.

  4. Logged on to say that I made your yummy beef stew this week and instead found myself reading today's post and linking to the interesting and I think your comments were very well-said and coherent. Just what I needed today. There is a lot of ugliness in any organized religion...people are insecure and imperfect no matter what they strive to be or how they think they may be behaving. Here's hoping that we all can try a little bit harder and forgive a little bit more every day!

  5. Wow, Kirsten, I loved reading your post AND the comments that followed. Thank you for posting it. Yes, I find myself struggling with what I'm supposed to "judge" and how I'm supposed to react to things all the time. Ahhh the plank(s) in my own eye... I don't know that I handle things correctly as often as I should.