Tuesday, February 2, 2010

desire mercy

For me, the line between righteousness and self-righteousness is really thin. Sometimes I try really hard to love Jesus and all that jazz, but just when I think I’ve got it right, I realize I’ve started judging those who don’t play my music. Crossing the line.

Years spent outside my comfort bubble have shown me that it’s true, what Jesus said about the strait and the narrow. Everybody wants to believe, man, but nobody wants to listen. All these dudes, they pray before meals and get tattoos of crucifixes and serious shit like that, but they don’t see anything wrong with having sex with [their] Best Friend’s Girl. Even when they already have 3 or 4 girlfriends themselves. I mean, don’t they know that selfishness is a sin?

Anyway, I’ve also come to realize that my notions of righteousness are deeply intertwined with my cultural upbringing. What I mean to say is that maybe it’s not always about obedience, maybe it’s not always about piety.

When I was in high school, I heard our so-called valedictorian talk about one of my friends. “He just isn’t a high-class person. I mean look at him. He drinks, he smokes…low quality character.” Damn. If I had been mature enough to understand what he was implying, I would have punched him in the mouth. How’s that for class, faggot?

I mean, who the fuck are you to judge someone with a less fortunate background than you? Because you yourself worked so hard to earn the rich parents who suckled you into the pompous condescending ass you are today?

Now, 6 or 7 years later, I’m beginning to wonder if my righteousness lenses have been colored by those same biased shades.

Let’s talk about G, whom I’ve been traveling with for the past few months. G ran away from home at age 15, never graduated high school. He spent the past 14 years of his life in jails, homeless shelters, drug rings, and between the legs of way too many Best Friend’s Girls to count.

And I’m incredulous when he talks about God.

His 12-year-old daughter recently sent him a letter telling him how proud she was of him. She bragged to all her friends and teachers that her daddy was doing big things out here.

When I heard that, I put away all the judgement I had been laying on him. And I guess what I realized, was that we are all searching for some kind of meaning. Something to tell us that we are somebody, that we have some kind of worth. Maybe we don’t deserve it, but we give it and accept it anyway.

It’s about mercy, it’s about grace.

Of course I’m still disgusted when I hear G use the same romantic lines on each of his girlfriends over the phone. But I guess the difference now is that I understand it’s not completely his fault.
I mean, how can I expect G to be holy like me if he’s never grown up in the upper middle class shelter I’m in? For people like me, we spend our entire lives dawdling in piety, asking Jesus for the strength to fight off dirty thoughts. For people like G, they’re just trying to get by. They ask Jesus for strength to carve out their place in society, they ask him to protect them from bullets and knives as they walk down the street.

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