“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
The last several weeks, I’ve cringed. A lot. The number of “somebody done somebody wrong” news briefs in the Paula Deen case makes me want to become a Luddite. But that’s not the world I’m called to serve in, nor the people I meet in my role as a chaplain.
The rush to judgment (sans jury) is pretty scary, though. Particularly when large sums of money and big piles of self-righteous posturing seem to be center stage. Is there ANY way for ANYONE to come out of this feeling good about themselves? I don’t think so…
Here’s the ugly secret: we are all guilty of this.
Guilty of superiority. Guilty of prejudice. Guilty of posturing. Guilty of fears that we won’t be as awesome as the next person… and so we build up wall of anger, pride and superiority.
In our own little worlds, fiefdoms, blogs, work cubicles… we look at one another and make these mud-slinging comments. If not under our breath, in private (aka gossiping — let’s call it what it is) to close friends. We feel more secure when we divide the world into us-them categories…
joggers vs non-joggers
organic foodies vs junk foodies
bottle vs breast
disposable vs cloth diapers
stay-at-home vs working
leaning in vs giving in
parents vs nonparents
singles vs married
stirred vs shaken (OK, that was just to see if you were still with me. 🙂 )
There’s security in boundaries. There’s comfort in knowing who “ticks all of our boxes” theologically, politically and personally. And when they don’t… we do our best to chop them down.
The biggest problem? Let me take this to a personal level because I know myself all too well…
The very things that have happened to me, I turn around and let them happen to someone else. I don’t push past initial rejection or disagreements because, well, I have been hurt before and I’m not up to feeling hurt again. (Especially when I see the train wreck coming. It’s easier to just sit back and then say, ‘I told you so.’)
Then there’s the question of consistency… I may succeed spectacularly in one area of my life, and totally stink in the next moment. Why do I struggle when I read stories about the Paula Deens of the world? Because I know that if you were to dissect my life, there would be many stories on my “front page” too.
I’m not exactly proud of that fact. But I’m honest about it… So whether it’s pork ribs or theology, there’s really no room for prejudice. None. Zero. That’s not being politically correct, by the way. That’s trying to live the way Jesus did – showing others the way to be FREE INDEED.
What was that promise on the cross at Calvary?
Confess the Lord and the truth shall set you free (Yeah)
Create in me a clean heart, O God
Renew a steadfast spirit within me…