In his sermon message a few weeks ago, Pr. Mike spoke about the problem of racism in our country. Inviting all of us to grow as followers of Christ, he boldly but lovingly suggested that if we don’t believe we are racist, we may be part of the problem. I sat there thinking about my last few weeks. I had been reading, The New Jim Crow and learning about the systems, the history and the prevalence of racism. I had attended a candlelight vigil after the tragedy in Charlottesville. I am aware that I am still part of racist systems and attitudes, try as I might not to be. And so I gently nodded in agreement with Pr. Mike. At least I was aware that I was, regretfully, racist- and so he wasn’t addressing me.
But then it was as if I heard God say, “Feeling a little smug there, aren’t you, Karen?” It’s like those times when a sibling is being scolded for some wrongdoing. We gleefully stand aside, grateful that we know better, relieved that we are not the ones being reprimanded. But then our parent turns to us and says, “And YOU…” and we discover that we are in trouble for something else!
Racism is ugly. Smugness is not attractive to God, either. If I sit among my friends in faith and believe in some way that I am more aware or understanding, then I am prideful and assuming. If I believe Pr. Mike’s words don’t apply to me, I am short-sighted. Some other definitions of the word, “smug” are self-righteous and arrogant. I don’t see “humble” anywhere in there. Smugness may also lead to complacency. God could easily ask me, “Yes, you are aware of racism but have you done enough to eliminate it- or are you aware of the ways you’re still contributing to it?” That morning in worship was very enlightening and humbling.
Smugness has no place in our lives. Whatever insights we have received we have only received by the grace of God. We may have certain gifts, but we will lack others. None of us are fully aware or fully perfected. I may understand some things, but I know I am missing out on much more. No one is any better than another- we are all broken- and God loves all of us the same.
When I write, it is comfortable and easy for me to share only the positive thoughts and ideas I have. I can readily write in order to create a positive image of myself, to share my good moments, and to show my love of God. This blog has been on my heart for several weeks, but I have delayed posting it because of my hesitation to share my flaws. It is embarrassing and humbling to publish this… and so for that reason I believe I must.