I just finished reading the latest book in my favorite fantasy series, Wheel of Time. It's a very long, complicated story. Usually I read for fun. Well, I used to at least. Lately it seems I can find a life lesson, or something new to think about in anything I read. Well, almost anything.
So I really like this series. It's this long, complicated story about your basic Light vs Dark. But this story is actually very realistic in many ways. I am amazed at the intelligence of the author who made so many and complicated plot twists. The thing that strikes me about this book is the vast number of plotting that happens. Even people who should be on the same side can't be trusted, because everyone has their own agenda. The end of the world is coming, so you think they should be working together to save people. But everyone has a different idea of how to do that. Some just want power for themselves. Some think their way is the only way. Other's are just ignorant. But everyone is moving independently. The actions of "not exactly enemies" are often just as damaging, or even more so than those of the actual enemies. Of course, the good news is that the enemy camp also has the same problem, only bigger. But somehow, by some greater power, things are falling into place anyway. What will eventually happen? I have to wait for the next book. Haha.
But it got me thinking. This is basically the situation the world finds itself in. There is the Light and the Dark. The end of the world is coming closer (because naturally that is the only direction it can go). Naturally you would think that Christians should be working together to save as many people as possible. But we have fallen under what I've decided is the curse of the Tower.
Of course I'm talking about the Tower of Bable. Here was a case when the people of the earth set out to rebel against God. Who needs God when we can make a tower directly to heaven ourselves? Well, it's impossible, but it's the pride that's important. In face of direct rebellion, God was a cunning General. If He attacked the tower directly, people might band together even more, thinking "ah, see, God was mad. Must mean we are on to something!" Instead He spared the lives of the rebels, instead, turning them against each other merely by confusing their languages. With their pride, no one could bend enough to learn the other languages, so work stopped, and the people separated. (now, please understand, these are all my own thoughts. I have no authority on this subject...) This seems to me the root of the problem. The curse we brought upon ourselves by rebellion. Factions.
Now we are divided. We can neither do too much good, or too much evil. We can't work well with others anymore. This is of course because I am right, and everyone else refuses to see that. So why should I change? After all, I'm right.
But this is the curse. The unbending need to be right. The pride that tells us this is the most important thing. Never back down. Never give an inch. Of course it may not be that full blown, but I believe we all carry this curse with us to some extent, about something. (I have a rather large portion of it myself.)
So like fools, children who can't see the bigger picture, we all hang on to our "rightness." I discovered recently that I have this terrible need to be right. And to have other people acknowledge me as right. It doesn't help that I am often right. But that doesn't mean people listen to me. Oh how it burns when I know I am right and tell people that, and they don't listen. Then they are proven I was right. But still no acknowledgment. Yes, it's one of my biggest hang ups. I have a lot of pride centered about being right.
But slowly I am beginning to see. Being right is not always most important. Being righteous is. This means you sometimes take the humiliation, the punishment, whatever, even though you are right. Turn your cheek. Walk the extra mile. Love your enemies. Ah, how I wish Jesus had never said those words sometimes! They are so hard. So painful. So right. Yeah, I have to admit. When it comes to being Right, Jesus wins. He was always Right. But still, He allowed himself to be humiliated, beaten, and crucified like a common criminal. Why? Because He was right! It wasn't fair. Life's not fair. Never was. If life was fair, it would have ended with Adam and Eve.
So here I am, trying to have the courage to give up my "rightness" for the sake of righteousness. Trying to be willing to be humble. And wishing that others could see this too. When we fight among political parties. Among denominations. Among clicks. Among families. Among nations. Why? Because each one thinks they are right. Not seeing the picture past themselves. Not completely informed. Not thinking of the welfare of others. It makes my heart weep to see it.
But I can't change the world. But I can begin to change me. Not be so quick to Judge. I can't know what's in a person's heart. I can't know all of their circumstances. Not so quick to be right. I can't see all the possibilities. I'm not God. I should know my place.
Slowly, I'm am tearing down my own personal tower I had been building. My rebellion against God. My need to be right. Thinking I have a right to be informed about everything. Demanding God's answers right away. My tower had been pretty high. It hurts to fall from there. Good thing it didn't go much higher. God is gracious. He continues to give me second chances. He confuses me enough until I can find the "right" path. His path. Not my rightness. His.
It's a humbling process. But it's better to be humbled than "wrong."