Thursday, April 28, 2011

pondering snark

One of my greatest temptations is to criticism, sarcasm, and a snarky attitude. Biting my tongue to keep myself from saying something ugly, I'm learning, doesn't make me a hypocrite. It's just one way of keeping my sinfulness from spreading to others.

I can justify all day long why I woke up this morning wanting to jump online and say something brilliantly cutting about the fact that I'm embarrassed at our country, for having treated its first black President like a non-citizen (I almost said second class citizen but that's not true). I want to call out the injustice, racism, and other-isms ("his name sounds Muslim") inherent in this situation. And we should. But if (when?) I do, I must do so with humility. Until I can speak that way, I must not speak at all. At least that is my conviction, today.

And as my heart broke for the people who have lost their lives in Alabama in last night's storms and tornadoes, another temptation crept into my mind and fingertips (another "tongue", as far as we writers go). I wanted to be snarky and ask whether the people of the southeast, the beautiful land we drove through just last week, had done something to "deserve" this "judgement". Many are quick to point out why others deserve what comes to them. What's the reason here? Again, to speak boldly and truthfully about injustice and hypocrisy is needful in its proper place. But with pleasure? With a triumphal spirit? With a desire to get a laugh or a thumbs up or a big ole pat on the back? No. That's just me being puffed up about how right I think I am. That's me pushing my way forward to the most honored seat at the table. And that's sick.

My point is that a lot of my walk these days is about testing myself. Checking myself. Inspecting my motives. Trying to confess the ugliness (there is so much of it) before it escapes me and infects others. Longing for it to disappear not only from my words but from my thoughts and heart. It will be a process to last a lifetime, I am certain.

Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing.

Whoever wants to embrace life
and see the day fill up with good,
Here's what you do:
Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
run after peace for all you're worth.
I Peter 3, The Message

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