Friday, August 15, 2014

easy lessons from other people's pain

This week, social media are awash in easy lessons from other people's pain. Why is it people so seldom draw easy lessons from their own pain?

Why is it so difficult to find the meaning in my own missteps, poor judgment, failure, brokenness, sickness, and wrongdoing, when I can readily spot the flaw in another man's thinking, pinpoint his shortcomings, moralize on his fall—easily, immediately and at length?

It takes a good bit of time to draw conclusions about the bad I've done and the good I have failed to do. It has taken years to even recognize some of those things, let alone understand and admit and amend them. The fact that I don't know what I don't know about myself should give me pause (right?), should fill my heart with mercy, should make me humble. It almost never does.

Somewhere near the heart of easy moralizing is a hot wet pocket of self-congratulation that I am not like other people—that I'm not mentally ill; that I did not lose hope; that I am still alive, still married, still employed, still sane, still able to put words together and still self-assured enough to employ those words to confess other people's sins (and still wise enough in the ways of the world to not confess my own). As if these were personal achievements; as if I am so good that even my body chemistry falls in line; as if these were my gifts to God and a needy world searching for a role model.

I find nothing "Christian" in these impulses. They are evidence that I am still closer than I want to admit to where I started. But don't judge me. If you knew how I struggle, I know you'd understand.


Anonymous said...

thank you.

Jim Hancock said...

You're welcome.

bajamom said...

Very profound and thought provoking.

Jim Hancock said...

Kind of you to say, bajamom. Howdy to John.