Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In All Humility

It seems that not everyone understands me and feeling misunderstood is one of my great failings.  I am not to proud to admit it.  When I feel misunderstood, an almost panicky feeling washes over me and I feel compelled to defend myself to whomever (yes, even on the Internet) it is who has a misunderstanding about me.  In doing so, I sometimes come off as brash, condescending or hypocritical, as I doggedly defend myself, by displaying behavior that is less than stellar.
While I could go on defending my actions as justified because I was provoked, I was defending someone else, or whatever reason, the truth is that perception is reality.  If people are perceiving my words as hypocritical, then in their reality, I am indeed being hypocritical.

I know there is no way to be above reproach to the perception of all people at all times.  No one has ever achieved that, not even Jesus, even though he was above reproach, some perceived him differently.  I do, however believe that if I am to have a heart that is after God, I have to try to act, and be perceived by others, according.  As the scripture points out, I must clothe myself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:11-13). I can see now where I am failing at a few of these attributes and mostly because I so much believe in justice and I can't stand to see something misunderstood or misrepresented.  I always feel I need to right a wrong wherever I see it, whether it is about me or not.  See how it is my great failing?  I have been fighting battles recently, that I should not have been fighting (yes, on the Internet).  No matter how much wrong I was coming up against, it still was not a battle I should have been engaged in.  I see that now.

I should not have engaged in these battles because, first of all, I wasn't called to do so, and had I listened more closely to the Holy Spirit, I would have known that.  Secondly, the arguments were not bringing me closer to God, they were only drawing me into behavior that is not kind, gentle or patient.  See, I have a tendency toward sarcasm, and while I believe it has its function and is one of the most brilliant forms of humor, it can also come off as acerbic and anything but kind and gentle.  Especially to people who don't speak sarcasm, which I have come to find out is the case more often than I realized.  Therefore, in order to be gentle and kind, I have to pick my battles more carefully and stick to ones that really matter.  Which brings me to reason number three as to why I was wrong to get into these arguments - they don't matter that much.  While the original subject might have been important, the argumentative tangents were not and this is where I went wrong.

So, what I am here to do today is to lay down my own pride, admit that I have acted in a way that is not in line with my values or my faith. I have already said (written) this in the forum where the arguments occurred, but felt a public apology is in order, in case I have offended or misrepresented myself elsewhere as well.  For the perception of hypocrisy that I have put out into the universe, I humbly apologize.  It doesn't matter what my intentions were, I clearly understand that.  What matters is the energy I created and the poor reflection my arguments were on me, and worse still, on my God.

Ultimately, I wish to be a light in this dark world and what I see now is that my words and actions are more far-reaching than I believed.  I wish not to give any impression of Christianity, or of God, that is not filled with light, love, grace and humility.  My goal is to use whatever gifts I have as an instrument of peace and will to that end, be going out of my way to do just that in a kind, humble, gentle, patient and compassionate way.  I am not promising no more sarcasm, because that is part of me too, and I still believe it has it's place, but I will tether it more securely when I need to.

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. ~Titus 3:1-2

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.~James 3:13

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.~Psalm 139:23-24

Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet.