In my early 40s I remember wondering if I would ever be able to outgrow my genuine dislike for Arrogants and Martyrs. There was something that happened in me every time I had to be with someone whose words and behavior screamed these patterns in one form or another. Truly, it was rather embarrassing to see so much hate rise in myself, and I tried to keep it to myself, of course, feeling all the more self-righteous when I did.
Then I learned, through my own growth and healing in Christ, that the reason I was swimming in so much silent malice in the face of people like this was because it reminded me of my own yet-unidentified forms of the same. OMG.
I had read about this, of course, that you tend to despise that which you are unwilling to see in yourself. But the small self is so clever; it will rationalize and tell you ANYTHING in order to not have to change at much depth. And so I continued to think that somehow I was different and not complicit in my own pain. Ha.
In the last decade, I’ve learned to see how Jesus’ death as a scapegoat for the anger the people felt for their inability to see the truth of who he was as the Son of Man (and the truth of themselves and each other as equals with him), was meant to remind us we truly don’t have to scapegoat and play the blame game any more in our lives. There will always be people whose personalities and company we will enjoy more than others’. But, whenever we find ourselves ROILING in hate and blaming anyone for our troubles, our pain, or even other people’s suffering, the question to ask is—
If it’s possible that I am projecting something onto this person that I need to take ownership of better in my own life, WHAT MIGHT THAT BE?
I guarantee that your small self, your ego, will immediately dish up a wonderful distraction and you won’t be able to stay with the question very long. But if we can try and stay with the invitation that the Cross gives us each time we try to play the blame game with another or with ourselves (it’s all my fault that my kids turned out the way they did, if I had only chosen this partner instead of that one, moved to that job instead of this one), it keeps the clay of our Being soft and malleable in the Potter’s hands.
Maybe in a decade or so we’ll be able to see better the ways in which each of us has nailed Love onto a cross over and over in our inability to see from our full Christ perspective quite yet.
Thanks be to God, the Magnificent Mystery, full of patience and perseverance in the long suffering relationship with us, a motley crew of humanity. Beleaguered and baffling, but so beloved.