Of Pride, and Telling Someone Their Business
Are you ever tempted to tell someone their business? Where does that come from? I only wish I was as smart and wise about life as I seem to think I am when I get into that mode of being. People make choices all around us, every day, that we observe and judge to be wanting in wisdom or are in need of correction. Would that we could find a way to suspend that impulse to judge, but at best I believe we can learn to be aware of it and to allow it to depart from us like a passing breeze. If we are going to be connected to each other, and faithful to God, as the Body of Christ, then the impulse to pridefully tell someone their business is a practice best left alone.
And yet, how tempting to indulge! Knowing better than the other person is just a part of life. IF we are confident-perhaps (and usually) over confident-we wind up opening our mouth to speak...a lot. If we lack confidence, or have learned to doubt our certainty, we might keep our mouths shut...but we STILL have those thoughts. Regardless of outlet, that pride is our undoing as humans. It is woven into the fabric of Job's conversations with his three friends. It simmers just beneath the surface of Paul's letters to the Corinthians, even though he works so hard to exhibit and resolve it in a positive manner. It is, simply, a part of us. It is a hallmark of our God-granted freedom to learn, discern and make choices as created beings. It is also the pitfall of our walk in this life, that we should take that freedom and warp it into the justification of self.
Once we come to terms with that, and we are continually coming to terms with that awareness in this life, we can begin to see just how good life can be when we set down the impulse to judge others or ourselves with our pride and certainty. In the space left by that willing surrender of certainty, mercy and grace find a place to grow and thrive. Paul can see it, and in today's reading he points us longingly toward it. Job knows its absence, as he has three friends working at him relentlessly.
We have it, because we are blessed with this new day, a day full of possibilities not so much to refrain from judging ourselves and others; rather, a day for us to acknowledge that impulse while choosing another path that encourages God's mercy and love to root in its place.