Posted on May 29, 2012 by

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit. Proverbs 16:2 ESV

I like this Bible verse because it expresses well the importance of self-examination. Far too many of us aren’t examining ourselves deeply or often enough.

One of the things that blogging, the Internet in general really, has a tendency to produce in us is an inflated sense of our importance and virtue. There are no shortage of immoral, amoral, and evil acts and perspectives for us to witness and read about. It leaves us shaking our heads in disbelief and feeling a sense of relief that we are “not like those people.” I have certainly recognized myself in the Pharisees of the NT.

While it’s easier for me to relate to this from my position as a Christian, it isn’t the only relevant context. This isn’t something that only afflicts Christians, although it’s particularly inane coming from us because we should know better. It’s an epidemic. Despite the fact that we live in a cesspool of a culture, teeter on a national economic precipice, and produce young men and women who are increasingly less wise or productive despite being more “educated”, every one of us looks in the mirror and thinks we’re okay. We love ourselves and wouldn’t change a thing. It’s quite astonishing!

One of the things I make a habit of doing when I pray is confessing every sin I committed that day that I can remember, great or small. The ladies here can testify that when I was becoming the “Mother Superior” among our little council, I started talking, and we all started talking.  What I am if I am worth anything at all is as much the sum total of my missteps as anything else. I am thankful for what I have learned along life’s journey, but I am equally cognizant of my human frailty and need for improvement.

I don’t know about you, but I find the smug, self-righteous posture that it seems every person possesses these days alarming. Indulgers in pornography feel superior to adulterers. Hood rats Sluts who give it away for free feel superior to prostitutes. Women who have had abortions are “at least” better than those single mothers who dare to give birth to children they can’t afford to raise properly. Liars take comfort in the fact that they’re not thieves. Don’t even get me started on the gossips, but on and on it goes. Everyone can find someone to look at smugly and feel better about themselves no matter how terrible their self is.

I often tell my children is to remember the standard, and their peers are not it. In a world where there’s so much negativity on which to heap disdain it’s important to remember that using the least common denominator as our standard of self-examination is a sure-fire way to sink deeper into the mire without even noticing it. Note how decadent and sinful the church in America has become all while clinging to the fallacy that we are salt and light?

We are salt and light relative to the culture, but not relative to the truth presented in Scripture. As the culture slides downward, the church moves downward with it. Slower, in smaller increments, but downward nonetheless. We crouch it in flowery spiritual sounding words, but it’s still a compromise with sin and selfishness. It’s why we can get divorced, date, and remarry all while attending the same church and never feel the sting of guilt or shame. Why women can treat their husbands like children and all the others in the church laugh it off like its funny. Why daughters come to church dress like streetwalkers, sons don’t darken the door at all, and the parents are still looked to as an authority. Because at least we aren’t as bad as so-and-so.

I really hate to come across as a prideful, smug, spiritually elitist, but I’m especially tired of the dog and pony show. It’s why I share my struggles with those who I have built enough of a rapport with for my story to be a blessing. So they know that I have weaknesses and weak moments like everyone else. I’m nothing special, and I’m okay with that. It’s the desire to be a special snowflake that has the average Christian woman thinking she’s a princess despite all evidence to the contrary. We measure ourselves using the wrong standard. Might I suggest the Bible?

Have you examined yourself lately against the light of Truth rather than the darkness of  this dysfunctional culture?

Posted in: Religion