The Christian’s Constant Struggle: Pot Kettle Black Syndrome, Part 2

September 30, 2008

Yesterday, I posted Part 1 of a guest contribution from my friend, Amy Brown.  Be sure to check it out if you missed it.  Here’s the rest…

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Pride, hypocrisy and self-righteousness seemed to be the things that Jesus despised the most.  But why?  I mean, the pharisees were obviously trying to be good, holy people, right?  At least they weren’t out smoking, dealing dope to kids, raping and pillaging, murdering and writing metal songs that worship the devil.  Those were the “bad” sins.  They did what was right and gosh darn somebody oughta notice.  Better recognize.  Represent. 

How frustrating that the good son who worked so hard and faithfully for his father his whole life had to sit back and watch his brother squander half of his father’s wealth and yet come back and get the party of his life.  Why, he was so much better than his brother, but his father had never done anything like that for him.  We’re all familiar with the prodigal son story in our own lives, and sometimes it’s the other son in the story that we can relate to.

Self-righteousness is like a cancer, it spreads so quickly.  We start doing something “good” and automatically think that we are so much better than every one else.  We fail to remember all the bad things we’ve done, and continue to do, whether in action or in thought.  I was a sinner from the moment I entered this world, from the moment I felt my first bit of hatred, from the time I spoke my first white lie.  And no matter what I do, I am not holy in and of myself, but only washed clean by the One who gave Himself for me, and for every one else.

Sometimes I get up on stage to help lead people in worship and I think What am I doing here?  Who am I that I should have this privilege?  After all, I’m not a very good Christian.  Well of course I am not good, but He is, and I’m there to tell every one else that no matter what they’ve done, there’s grace, mercy and love in His wonderful embrace, and He can live His goodness through us – in kindness, love, compassion, and understanding, despite all of our inadequacies.

Judge not lest you be judged,” Jesus warned. The pot calls the kettle black, and we will always be contending with this Pot Kettle Black syndrome.  Yet I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and some day I hope to dump these stained glass eyes and see Him clearly, face to face.

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Challenging stuff… We have “opportunities” to judge others everyday. It’s hard to do the right thing and pass them up. Thanks for sharing Amy.

I’ve got several more guests lined up with a post over the next month.  Should be some really good stuff.

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The Christian’s Constant Struggle: Pot Kettle Black Syndrome, Part 1

September 29, 2008

Today’s post is a special treat.  (And, it’s followed up with Part 2 tomorrow!)  My good friend, Amy Brown, is helping me out with a guest post.  She definitely has a word for us.

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The other day I was standing in the elevator at work, and a woman and her child got on.  There are a few doctor’s offices in the building, so there are a lot of patients coming and going.  I immediately smelled the stench of stale cigarette smoke.  I looked at the cute little girl that was accompanying (my guess) her mother.  My mind immediately began to judge the supposed mother, thinking if this woman smells this strong of cigarette smoke, she must smoke like a train, and if so, her daughter probably gets a lot of secondhand smoke.  Hmph.  Too many careless, selfish parents these days.  Then they got off at the floor that I believe the cancer office is on.

The fact is, the inside of my car smelled like that a year or so ago.  And even though I rolled down the window, and didn’t smoke in the house, I still smoked, and my son knew it, and whether I liked it or not, my car reeked of it.  Once, I didn’t realize I lifted my arm a little too high to flick my ash out of the window, and my hand with lit cigarette hit the ceiling of my car, bumping the cigarette of my hand, which landed in my seat, after which I frantically stamped it out on the floorboard as I was waiting in line to turn left at a stoplight.  That was when I decided to quit, but it wasn’t until a year or two later that I actually did.

I inherited a rare condition from my father, who ever so faithfully taught me the rules of the road.  This condition is called “road rage.”  It doesn’t matter if I have all the time in the world to get somewhere, it will never be too soon.  Perhaps this is because I’m most often “fashionably late” to begin with, or maybe because I still need to learn a lot about patience, or both. 

If some one isn’t going at least 5 miles over the speed limit, they are in my way.  If they are in the fast lane and not going at least 10 miles over the speed limit, they are in my way.  If they are taking too long to merge, they are in my way.  Basically, if they are on the road, they are in my way.  And this is not my nature until I get behind the wheel.  I am transformed into some sort of self-righteous egocentric 5-year-old tyrant who thinks that most people on the road are jerks, unless they let me in. 

Don’t tell, but a year and a half ago, I got into a side-swipe wreck because I was putting eye shadow on while driving.  And I’ve been known to put mascara on in the car too, while it’s moving, and I’m behind the wheel.  And no, I will not let you know when I’m out on the road.  Besides, I’ve decided these aren’t good practices unless the car is in park.  At least most of the time, anyways.

A few favorite songs ago, I couldn’t stop listening to a tune called Pot Kettle Black by Tilly and the Wall.  It was a rockin’, angry chick song, and I loved it.  What I especially loved about it was that it was obviously about people/girls who talked smack on other people/girls but they themselves are hypocrites.  (Now the song has a couple of swear words in it, so if you look it up, I thought I should warn you.)  I like the line “And don’t be surprised if they don’t buy all your lies, some of us can see through your stained glass eyes.”

Stained glass.  This automatically brings to mind the windows of a beautiful, old church, depicting scenes of calvary, or that stable in Bethlehem.  The outward beauty of a building that is supposed to represent something good, a meeting place for those who long to be closer to God, to know more about Him, and to worship Him together with His children.  But we all know how looks can be deceiving, and though we may work so hard to make ourselves seem holy, there are often a lot of unholy things within us. 

This I am familiar with as some one who helps lead worship and has been involved in music in the church since I was 12 years old.  It’s easy to let a lot of it go to your head when people feed you compliments, even though compliments are also encouraging.  A musician or singer in the church has to constantly keep themselves in check so that they don’t start thinking they are better than other people and that they have some special “power” that God has granted them, which is somewhat true, but that is true for every one who is in Christ. It’s just we all have different roles. 

The people on stage get a lot of attention, but it’s the people who clean the floors and greet the new people, who scrub the toilets and pray for others while doing it that are the true backbone of the church.  It’s the people who smell like stale cigarette smoke and reek of alcohol that Jesus came for.  People who are broken and don’t have any pride left to get in the way of a real relationship with Christ.

(to be continued… stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow! )