COLLEGE PARK, MD –
Superficially and as far as we can see with the worldly eye, some have it better than us and we have it better than some others. The reality of God’s wisdom in His portioning is a different story.
If we just go by face value, though, I think there is a point we should note.
Gratitude, not oppression
Knowing we outwardly have it better than others should make us grateful to God. He alone favored us in the manner He has. We could easily be worse off.
That fact, however, should not make us willing to accept injustice.
To say that we are so grateful for the ease we experience in life in many regards does not mean we should simply lie impotent with regards to areas of our lives where we experience or witness oppression.
Being grateful to God and showing gratitude to His creation for good we’ve had at His hands through His creation should not be confused for letting ourselves or others off the hook for oppression we/they cause.
The same person who has done us good may also harm us. Helping in one regard does not justify hurting in another.
Accountability is still required.
The nature and tone of that accountability is subject to the nature of the relationship. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and wisdom in delivery should always be a large consideration in productively holding ourselves and others accountable.
However, using etiquette as an excuse to not do the hard work of upholding accountability is not acceptable. Indeed, this is an extremely difficult and delicate balance to achieve.
We should do our best, but not be handicapped by our imperfection. As long as we’ve sincerely given our all, seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness should be our solace.
Situations like these are very hard – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. They are messy and there are no victors or vanquished.
They are tests. Perfection is not what is asked of us.
Sincerity and struggling earnestly to approach any situation, especially one of productive accountability that usually includes extremely delicate relationships like parent-child, in a way God would be pleased with is the goal – not to “win” or be perfect.
Recognizing our imperfection through these tests and turning humbly to God in repentance is a great potential outcome of these situations.
Using our imperfection or the favors we’ve had bestowed upon us to sidestep or bypass real instances of oppression in our lives may sound nice, but it amounts to “spiritual bypassing” (gratitude to the Ta’leef Collective staff for introducing this term to their audience) in my opinion and may be a despicable trick of accursed satan.
It sounds great to our superficial selves: “I have it so well in life, I’m ashamed to say this or that hurt me. How ungrateful of me?”
In reality, that can probably be translated as: “How can I even explain to someone that this hurt me. No one will believe me because of the superficial perfection of my life. They’ll just think I’m making a big deal out of nothing and should show more gratitude.”
This in itself can be tortuous to us – a big reason why we may try to bypass it. It is a hard thought to live with that we may not be validated in our legitimate concerns – especially when it involves loved ones who may have hurt us.
Productively addressing these issues is a enormous topic out of the scope of this column, but avoiding the trick of spiritual bypassing is an important first step.