As I get older I learn more about myself. For example, I’m discovering one of the reasons I enjoy writing is that I can temper my words, even when I’m excited.
It’s different for me when I’m in a conversation. Words can come out of my mouth long before I understand the impact of them. Some might consider a person with actions like that a jerk. Yes, sometimes I’m a jerk.
It’s taken me longer than it should have to realize that, but how many jerks really know they’re jerks? I’m not a jerk all the time. I’m a pretty good guy when I’m asleep!
A couple days ago while at the gym I was having an ongoing discussion/debate over some Christian doctrinal issues. You know the ones, there are about five really divisive issues for us Christians.
This probably isn’t the biggest divider and I’ll remain vague to avoid an on-line argument.
My friend Tim and I were lobbing Christian shots at each other that were dripping with sarcasm. (which us jerks really enjoy) – (Oh, and for the record Tim is a jerk too!) There was a friend of Tim’s that he goes to church with close by. Tim drew him into the crossfire.
Tim’s friend was caught off guard. Tim posed the question of our debate to him without preparing him mentally for our “rough around the edges” style.
His friend, a mild-mannered guy, starts to quote some scripture to enlighten us on the subject we’ve been debating for years. In fairness to Tim’s friend, neither Tim nor myself look like the studious type. He continued to speak as if talking with a couple of ignoramuses.
The verses he quoted to us didn’t have much bearing on the subject in question. Being mere mortal, my tongue could take only so much pain from the teeth piercing it. I let go…Not in anger, but not in God either. Human emotion overtaking my self-control.
I’m very proud of the studying I’ve done on this particular subject. I’ve read books, done Bible studies, spent countless hours with my Hebrew and Greek concordance. My reaction was more that proud, it was pride. You know, the thing that cometh before a fall?
I made my points and my competitors countered with arguments that were also in human emotion. You know the ones, “Well my preacher says…”! The conversation’s well out of hand at this point and a wise man of God would honor Him and walk away. Not me, no sir. At this point I’m rolling, I’ve got the enemy on the run. I have my foes against the ropes.
There is no sign of wisdom, only folly. I continued to disrespect God’s word by using it against, instead of for His beloved.
They soon both retreated and headed for the door. In truth, I love to talk about God’s word. What else matters more than that?
That night as I prayed God laid on my heart the reality of my actions. “God please forgive me for being such a jerk.” I didn’t bring God honor, I was trying to honor myself. I got railroaded by my flesh.
If to be a “Christian” is “Christ-like” or followers of Christ, what was I? Who was I following?
Saying sorry will help ease my conscience, but probably won’t get me another in-depth conversation with this solid man and fellow believer.
I gotta be honest with you though… In my heart, I still really don’t want to wash this guy’s feet…