As I read through numerous Christian oriented blogs and message boards, I marvel at the differences between those who take a more traditional approach to Christianity, versus those who make Jesus’ love the central focus of their beliefs. There seems to be a major movement toward the latter, and I’m very happy to witness it.
Those who follow the traditional path seem to receive pleasure in constantly reminding others of their sins. That has always annoyed me greatly. Lately I’ve surrounded myself with people who are motivated towards pursuit of a more “Christ-like” version of Christianity, and that seems to help diminish my burning dislike towards traditionalists. I hope to someday extinguish the urge to slap the judgmental upside the head, and instead embrace them in understanding, but for now I am still in head-slapping mode.
Psychology became a major interest to me while in college, and that interest continues to this day. I constantly find myself wondering what it is that motivates people to behave as they do, regardless of whether said behavior is positive or negative. What makes them tick? This morning I read a few blogs that vaguely remind me of the Westboro Baptist group (the “God Hates Fags” people). When blogs lean toward this approach, hate slogans seem to find their way into the comments section upon occasion. Why those who wish to represent Jesus would ever choose to use such terms is beyond me, but I do have a theory I’d like to propose:
I think it has to do with self(ish) motivation, as opposed to self(less) motivation. I’d be willing to stipulate most of those who are being selfish may not realize they’re doing so. Before clarifying what I mean, let me give some background information on what leads me to this conclusion.
When I was in high school my athletic abilities were not that great. I participated in sports, but in football, for instance, I was much more likely to be found playing the position of guard (the water bottle) than actually being a guard on the field. Academics were a different story. I excelled and received high marks in honors courses with hardly any study required. When nobody else was able to answer a question, the teacher often called on Donny. I had to try hard to keep the huge smile off my face when I was able to answer questions that stumped the rest of the class. That was my sense of “power”. I loved pointing out that those who had excelled in sports from previous high school years had graduated and could often be found working a cash register at Burger King, but “academics” from previous years were pursuing college and graduating with professional jobs.
In all aspects of life, I find people who put others down to make themselves look better. One reason for doing this is because a certain feeling of power comes with making oneself appear more “important” than someone else. This is true of Bible Thumpers as well, and from my very unscientific observations it appears to happen more to those who have no “power” in other aspects of their life. Thumping others upside the head with scripture provides a feeling of empowerment. God’s will is often cited, but I really don’t think the motivation has a thing to do with what God wants. It has to do with the selfish desire to feel power. And what better source of “power” than God himself? It’s hard to argue against “God said you must do such and such and this is the scripture that proves it!!”
I feel called to love others despite their sins. I have little chance of living up to that calling, but I look forward to making the attempt. To truly do what God asks of me I have to assassinate my desire for power, and must instead focus on becoming humble. One blog I read said something along this line:
Jesus could have done anything he wished, yet he decided to serve.
God, help me find the strength to do the same.