When the a-hole comes out

I think it was made clear to me when I was talking to another gentile who had said, once again, that the seven laws were not enough and that he wasn’t happy keeping them because he was “spiritual.” That was when the a-hole in me came out eventually. Having taken that statement way more personally than should have, and after using a more understanding tone of letting people do as they choose, I then proceeded to describe him as essentially selfish, self-serving, and someone who spends way too much focus on what God has not commanded, on things irrelevant to a Gentile, stuff that has no rational basis (like Jewish dietary law and holy days).

Let’s pretend I was totally right. Do you know of many occasions where you state what is negative about a person (especially a stranger) clearly and bluntly, and that person take it in a good mature manner? Personally, that doesn’t happen to me much at all. Those things should be done with tact, care and respect. Sometimes it should be done talking around the subject rather than basically slapping a person across the face with it! It shouldn’t be put across in a negative spirit! It shouldn’t be done when one feels slighted or wronged. It can just cause hurt feelings and resentment. That’s when ego flares up in response. And it only hurts the cause.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m very much a fan of Ecclesiastes and its statement that there is a time and purpose for everything. There is a time for gentle speech. But there is also a time to bring the smackdown to someone’s house (meaning that there is a time for attacking and forthright speech). But wisdom is needed. and those lacking in wisdom should use caution and lean more on peace. Yes that includes me.

I will do what I can to repair anything I’ve broken. But this lesson is important for me to learn!

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4 Comments

  1. Jim

    This is a real difficulty. It is difficult to identify ego gratification as a source of error without someone feeling that you are calling him selfish or self-centered. Even trying to argue logically that since one can give nothing to God, the only way to serve Him is in ways He prescribed, people feel judged. I have found that even though I feel sympathetic with people who have this “spiritual” need, and I understand its source, I end up getting frustrated with their defensiveness. And that frustration shows.

    At times, I grow terribly impatient. And I regret that it shows. I regret the times I’ve gotten sarcastic with others. I regret that I let myself get defensive or annoyed. Thank you for reminding me to be gentle and patient, and to think about how I may alienate others by the way I communicate.

    Jim

    • Jim, thank you for such a poignant response. It is way to easy to destroy people or their efforts, even with the truth. For me, it is very easy to feel the way you do. We have our respects. Hopefully, separately and together, we can do our part to be better examples in the cause we both feel so strongly about, that we are both committed to. This doesn’t blemish all your good work so don’t be disheartened. Just move forward and be the best you can be. That’s all that we can do, isn’t it?

      • Jim

        You are a great encouragement. Thank you.

        Jim

      • Iron sharpening iron, my friend. I wish you success.

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