Ok this is hard to admit but over the years, I have watched a few minutes of “The Jerry Springer Show” and I have thought, “I have problems and I am not doing what I should be doing, but at least I am not like those people.”
Just being honest here…
Wow, what a wonderful example of the mental exercise of rationalization that is.
I am comparing myself to people who are so brazen with their life challenges that they parade their problems on tv for money. You may know the show. Jerry has all kinds of guests. People who are two-timing a spouse are a regular. Individuals with unique sexual needs are often on the show; in fact his website today is calling for transgendered people to contact the show. He can make you a star.
Springer does not just talk to people; he sets them up to confront each other and the audience. They usually yell at their friends and family members on the show and eventually have an altercation with Springer bouncers trying to keep people apart. The audience participates as they hurl derogatory comments at the guests.
It is a spectacle.
I am ashamed that I even know about it but “at least I am not like those people.”
What a cop out.
The point I am trying to make is, do you think God is calling us to a higher standard?
Of course He is, and I say that without being hateful about Springer’s guests. No one should look down on another human being; we should have empathy for people who have greater problems than we do. Disgust is not the right response. Arrogance in my “at least” statement is not the right response. Pity is not the right response either.
All these thoughts I am having about the Jerry Springer Show are leading me to one idea. Why do we compare ourselves to others?
Jerry Springer’s guests may not be the best example of the comparison game we play, but what about the people you run around with in your church? Do you want to fit in with them? Probably you do. But what if they are just being as Pastor Chan says “godly enough” to be acceptable in their social group at church? Is that enough?
What if you want more? What if you feel God is asking more of you than those in your social group? What if you know that you need more? Down deep inside, you know that you need to face your problems honestly, you need to change and you need to grow.
Are you going to let your need for acceptance from others hold you back?
That’s what happens to many of us.
I have a friend that is so worried about acceptance from others that he does all kinds of mental gymnastics to please the people he is with. Granted, he is a businessman but do business people have solid opinions? Of course they do. Not him. When he is with a conservative crowd, he takes strong positions on gun control, free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. When he is with people with liberal minds, he talks social justice, voting rights for minorities, reproductive rights for women, support for same-sex marriage, and government programs such as education and health care.
What is this guy?
He is taking the idea of fitting into a social group to the extreme, all in the name of social comparison. He has an overpowering need to “fit in.”
Pastor Chan says in chapter 4, that Jesus spoke in parables so he could separate true believers in the crowd from those who were just faking it, people who think they are “godly enough.” He says that “He [Jesus] just wasn’t interested in those who fake it.”
It is not good to compare yourself to others, unless the person you are comparing yourself to is what we call a “saint”, a mentor, a person who can teach you, stretch you and take you in directions that are closer to our Lord and Savior.
Being “godly enough” is ok I guess, if you are going to let your social group rule your life.
Letting God rule your life can be lonely. You may be doing things that others just don’t understand and maybe they will see you and wonder if they are ok. “You seem to be more godly.”
One of my best friends who continues to inspire me, mentor me, and lead me is Brian Coatney. He writes about the road of life that one takes where the Holy Spirit is the guide. “All roads start with the Spirit in you, and no road is the right road until that is settled. When it is, every road is the right road, no matter how curious or odd it seems.”
Dare to be different.
Dare to be odd.
If God is your mentor, your life will feel right.
That is all that really matters, isn’t it?
*special note. Some of you know I am married to a wonderful woman but you may not know she is dealing with a sick mother and sick sister right now. I tell you this to give her credit, for she is my editor. In normal circumstances, she proofreads every post and corrects my errors, points out unclear sentences and debates issues with me. For the past two weeks, she has been in the hospital with mom and sister more than she has been at home. If you notice an error or two, please know that I am missing her at home and the blog is missing her sharp eye and intelligent editing mind. Pray for Martha and Shawna please.