As I now am in my sixth week of staying at home, I find that I am taking pride in the fact that I am staying home to: a) be a good local and global citizen, b) follow the medical community’s advice to prevent the spread of this killer virus and c) to think more about others than myself. I expect that my award will soon be arriving in the mail for sacrificing my personal freedom, making and wearing masks, and sending needed items to others. But it has not arrived yet. Has yours? Well, even if it doesn’t (after all it might not be an essential delivery) we can still enjoy the moral high ground of knowing that we are such good Christians and well, simply-put good people.
But there is a danger here. If we are sooo good; what are the people who do not conduct their lives as we do? So-so? Or worse yet bad? It is so easy to slide ever so slightly, okay maybe a lot, into judgment. We barely notice our tendency until we find ourselves shaking our heads or yelling at the TV in disgust as “those” people: just don’t get it, are selfish you-know-whats, or are total idiots to put it nicely. It is a slippery slope. Now I am not saying that all behaviors should be endorsed and affirmed, but I believe Jesus was pretty clear on the unchecked critique of others. “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye” Matthew 7:3-4
Oops, I feel my moral high-ground headed for an avalanche. At least the ground is shaking pretty hard as I realize that I had leap-frogged from disliking or disapproving a behavior to attacking the person behind it without even taking a breath. Yup there it goes! My moral high ground just collapsed in a heap of self-serving rubble. As much as I hate to admit it, I am totally wrong here.
So what made me behave in such a way? The same God-given emotion that spurs most actions and reactions whether we admit it or not: Fear. We fear the negative consequences of both doing and not doing an action. And let’s face it – our fears and concerns are as unique and multi-layered as we are.
So I will continue wear my mask, stay at home, and do my part in curbing the effects and spread of this pandemic. But perhaps I need to remind myself that God has got this. All I am responsible for is my part and following the guidelines to the very best of my ability. As for the “others”? I need to remember that “they” are neither “they” or “other.” We are all one family in God and all beloved. I don’t have to like my “siblings’ behavior… but I can always choose to love them like Jesus does.
Yeah that Love your neighbor as yourself thing… he meant it – even when our neighbors are not behaving as we’d like.
I just served myself a nice gooey slice of humble-pie… Want a bite?