This note is more in the form of a confession, which the Good Book says we should do to one another, and that is the old temptation to gripe, especially regarding fellow Christians – plus the world in general such as taxes, inflation, alcoholism, etc. Double fault; I like to kid myself into thinking that it is righteous concern, principle, fairness, desire to make thing right. Happily, I know the real cause of it is that I’ve got it “too good.” I have no personal problems, like unemployment, to occupy my mind, and I have to the contrary, been loaded with so many blessings that I have become like a spoiled kid, who wants EVERYTHING his way regarding his environment which includes other people.
So the thought came to me, “OK, what difference would it make to you if so-and-so did work harder, or that somebody else didn’t bust things; that a third guy would get fired, somebody else hired; so-and-so not marry, and somebody else find a good mate?” I would just find something else to fret about, in “righteous indignation,” such as wheat sent to Russia that sits rotting in warehouses, or girl brides in India being burned alive.
So back to the basics of not trying to be the world’s Savior; even Jesus didn’t, in that sense, though injustices were worse in his day which must have angered him. Just leave it with the Lord, if you are not the problem nor the solution.
Two other admonitions: It is only by these encounters with other people who rub us the wrong way that we get polished up ourselves, and that is what life is all about. Not getting houses built or inventing computers, but “producing” people literally and spiritually. Jesus’ brother James says that we ought to welcome, rejoice in personality clashes for they are just “money in the bank” in giving us those costly virtues of godlikeness – patience, serenity, forgiveness.
A practical point is that you learn not to look to human beings for your models, with their fickleness, selfishness, thoughtlessness, etc. That encourages fighting fire with fire, imitating them. Because they will do things that will make me envy them, or get mad at them for doing it. Then, says Jesus, I have done the same thing in my heart! And felt righteous for not doing it in deed!
In my college days I was involved in a lot of extracurricular things. And I found out this universal and perennial principle: That everywhere and anytime about a third of the race wants to do things or improve them; another third will go along (and let the others do it or pay for it); and another third will buck you. But, even the third group is useful and helpful. We are not always correct in our bright ideas and they help us to eliminate the weak points in our position and, as in the case of “resistance exercises” or isometrics, actually make our position stronger.