Nobody has to tell me I’m just about useless. That’s one of the primary pillars I use in my personal model of Christian Mysticism. The true Christian Mystic is committed to Truth, convinced that the Truth of all things is far, far more important than any thing else, including the self. Through the eyes of mysticism, I see my sins and basic flaws and wonder how God did not remove me from earth long ago.
If you insult me, I won’t react with very much emotion, except perhaps mirth. Want to splash into the very public eye my very darkest sins? Let me help you, because I will freely admit to things I’ve done wrong. The pain I feel is still quite fresh for a lot of it. If what you say is simply not accurate — say, you want to allege I rob banks — I’ll deny it on the obvious grounds of alibi, since I’ve never done that. It’s too easy to prove the lie. If it’s just a matter of opinion, I’ll probably seek to clarify that point, but may not argue against your assessment.
I’m not impressed by folks who take themselves too seriously. I consider most efforts at reputation building and protection to be arrogance in disguise, a very denial of the principle of putting Truth first. People who seek reputation are up to no good.
How do you react when someone wants your sympathy, but will openly attack anyone who suggests it might not be fully deserved? How do you react when someone engages in cover-ups, angrily and shrilly demands their friends beat up on anyone who dares to speak ill of them? How about if they insist on controlling the very terms in which we speak of them? We call them petty, childish, arrogant, etc. Mostly we would avoid them.
Sometimes personal conduct and rules of civility do extend from the personal to the national. Not all of them, but some concepts do apply. How often do nations own up to the wrong they’ve done? Not often enough, we would say. How often do nations demand someone or some other nation grovel over the smallest things? Too often. My first serious writing effort in support of a thesis statement made this very point: When a man thinks of himself as part of a nation or other identity group, it has historically changed his character for the worse. Individual folks are generally decent, but man in concert is always unspeakably evil in the long run. Yet our Creator holds forth some standards which apply equally to both the individual and the nation.
And arrogance is one of them. It’s one thing to be proud of your accomplishments, prospering when the odds are against you. There’s not much to be proud of when you came in like a tsunami and crushed your enemies, be they human or otherwise. Sure, folks with the upper hand can still suffer a few deaths and losses, but overall, when someone has more money, better weapons, and better organization, you are surprised when they don’t win. That’s not an accomplishment, just a victory. If their enemy wins, that is an accomplishment.
When any nation demands the world play be certain rules, then acts as if no rules apply to themselves, insist on telling the most outrageous transparent lies, we tend to run out of words which mean some sort of hyper-arrogance. If by God’s standards we don’t condemn that nation, according to Scripture we are considered their enablers. It’s not necessarily talking bad about the people when pointing out the flaws in their actions. When Christ rose from the grave, there was no long any nation with a unique status before Him. From that day forward, with every possible symbol and sign He and His Father could offer, Jesus made clear the covenant with Israel was closed. To this day, no nation has any special standing before God; it’s blasphemy to say otherwise.
I am no better than any human on this earth, and considerably worse than a good many. Because God has been so patient with me, I’m striving to walk away from that, striving to establish a record of improvement. But given the sins of my past, it would only be justice due if God called my number, at least in the sense of His Laws for fallen mankind. What stays His hand is a purpose which trumps those Laws, a purpose which is spiritual by nature, and cannot be put into words directly. You can probably see some evidence of that spiritual factor in my current existence, if you get to know me. It’s a complete and utter miracle, because not a thing I could do or say would warrant that spiritual factor in my life; I could not even have wanted it. So it’s the least I can do to manifest that miracle by taking no credit, by denying there is any justice in my continued presence, only grace. I realize my hideous shortcomings and overwhelming incompetence is often trumped by grace, which makes things somehow come out right.
How much grace do you see in the current actions of that modern state called Israel? How does white phosphorus (a war crime by definition), land theft, mass punishment, dumping your sewage in houses, provoking everyone in the world you don’t like and refusing to play by the rules you demand of all others — how does that resemble God’s grace? It’s not as if graceful actions aren’t within the reach of Israel. It’s not as if she couldn’t decide to act graciously when folks ask questions. Yet, we know the only reason this blog isn’t shut down already is because I don’t get enough traffic to be noticed by the Friends of Modern Israel.
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