Human arrogance believes itself consistently right.
Have you ever been in a search for a lost item with one or two other people? The item missing is important to you and your friends. One of you looks in a certain area, finding nothing. Another of your circle comes back to search your area in case you missed something.
We do it to each other all the time. The repetition of that process is a form of arrogance—I might see something you didn’t. And it can be true-- the second searcher might actually see more than the first one.
But it’s still arrogance to think I can see better, faster, clearer than the next person. It’s an unconscious, daily functioning part of our psyches, and if we choose to feed it, a manifestation of our old, sinful natures.
We let this form of arrogance loose in the last decade. It crescendoed on social media from 2016-2020. It’s still rattling out there. We all thought we knew what was best and where the other person was wrong. We told each other in succinct and often deprecating terms. And now a number of us don’t want to talk together or share the same space. It was that bad. Brothers and sisters in Christ allowed a wall of division to go up. It seems no one is anxious to break it down. And so we suffer without understanding how much we need each other.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting with extended family for a time of reflection. A brother-in-law brought up Proverbs 3—Don't lean on your own understanding, acknowledge God. I suddenly saw it in a new light.
If I’m to live hesed in my relationships, especially where politics is concerned, I can’t lean on my own understanding. My understanding is faulty. It comes with a temper. My insights don’t always see the other person. My version of being right is quick to speak and slow to listen.
In our current political history, many of us see our own viewpoints as consistently right. We are wise in our own eyes and we lean all over our understanding as we tell others what to think or do. Some voices may be correct, but do those thoughts matter in the life to come? Are we taking our politics into eternity? I don’t see where scripture mentions that.
When we acknowledge God’s ways, the Hesed attitude list of 1 Corinthians 13 can take root in us:
Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
Love never fails.
What if we employed this list with politics and our brothers and sisters in Christ? What if we acknowledged God’s hand at work in our world? What if we prayed for his kingdom to come and his will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?