December 21, 2010
That’s what happened. I got my feelings hurt, and it clogged the well of my writing. I’ve been standing in the corner, as it were. I know- it sounds very adult and self-actualized, doesn’t it?
Some of you saw the article which mentioned our family in the San Francisco Chronicle back in August. Some of you probably don’t know about it. The article itself was fairly sympathetic, but the comments were not. It’s the first time that I’ve ever been discussed in any sort of public forum, and it was hard. Like I said, I got my feelings hurt. Not all of the comments were directed at us personally. Some of them were about people “like us”. But, some of them were personal. While there were a (very) few kind comments, most of them were fairly critical. Comments about people like us being self-righteous. Comments about people like us playing at farming while the nanny takes care of the house and children. Comments about the fact that we’re Christians. I felt like my intelligence, integrity and judgment were being questioned- which was hard.
The comments stung. I wish I could say that the comments rolled off me, but they didn’t. In time, I hope to get to that place. That “thicker skin” place. But, as a newbie in the public forum, it was hard. I don’t want to defend myself against all the accusations, but I do want to address the comment about people “like us” being self-righteous. Frankly, it rings true. My pastor has a PhD in Clinical Psychology. He occasionally makes statements where you see this come out. He recently said “Show me your strengths, and I can probably tell you what your weaknesses are”. I think that when people (like me) are principled, then we can also tend to be judgmental and self-righteous. As a Christian, this is absolutely wrong. I don’t want to turn my atheist friends off by giving you a theological lecture. But, I honestly can’t address this without bringing Christianity in. Jesus used pretty strong language for people who are self-righteous or critical of others.
Some versions use the analogy of noticing a speck in someone’s eye when you have a plank in your own.
Here it is from The Message:
Matthew 7: 1-5
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults- unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,” when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.”
So, if you find people who are self-righteous and judgmental to be insufferable, you’re in good company. Jesus did, too. Please hear me when I ask you to call me on it if I begin to wax judgmental. God hates it when people are self-righteous- it separates us from God and from our fellow humans.
Meanwhile, I hope to be back at it. Writing about things that I care about. As we head into the next chapter of the Simpson Family odyssey, the well of ideas is deep. And I’m getting my turtle shell ready for the next go-around.