Eyes On Me
Jude 1:16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters showing favoritism to gain advantage.
When Jude speaks of the grumbling malcontent, focused on self, I know exactly who he is talking about. As soon as I read these words, I attach a name and I get irritated. I know who needs to read this. He (or she) is so consumed with self and so blind to his own narcissism that he actually finds himself humble.
I feel the need to let this person know how irritating I find his (or her) behavior. I fantasize about how I will convince him of how irritating he truly is. I want to see tears, groveling and humiliation and I want everyone around to witness it. I demand misery! This passage is about you and I am going to show you how awful you truly are…
Then, of course, I start talking to God and He reminds me that my time with him is rarely about anyone else. He has yet to ask me to be offended by the defects of another. I am to worry about my defects. I am to be occupied with my relationship with him. I am to keep eyes off my own flesh nature and on God.
When I am honest with God and myself, I can see that my frustration with those obsessed with self is born out of my own obsession with self. How often to I grumble in dissatisfaction when things do not go my way? It is my own pride that bleeds when I see the pride in others. When I am truly humble, I do not bear the burden of another’s pride. When my eyes are on me however, I find the defects in others to be quite irritating.
This does not mean it is wrong to recognize destructive behavior in others. Keeping my eyes on God does not mean that I am blind to another’s pride. It just means that I do not give someone else the power to make me miserable. It is in indulging in my own defect that I give power to others to control me with their defect. It is only when I keep my eyes off self that I can learn how to interact with the defects of those around me. As long as I am prideful, the pride in others will make me miserable.
When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus said that I am to love God with all my heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37). There is no mention here of worrying about the defects of others. Jesus went on to say that second greatest commandment was to love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:39). Again, I am not commanded to focus on my neighbor’s pride. I am always to work on my own defect and my own relationship with God.
When I do turn my attention to my neighbor, it is to show him the love that God has shown me. It may well be that in love, I will need to address the destruction that my neighbor causes, but it is only in keeping my eyes off of my own defect that I can do this appropriately.
So today, as always, I will not indulge in my defect. I will keep my eyes off of me, take up my cross and follow Christ.