Stupid and Wrong
And they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will go.” So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men. Genesis 24:58-59
While visiting my daughter in college last weekend, we all attended a football game where I witnessed a lot of kids dressed in a manner that made me feel really old. That’s a stupid way to wear a hat. Why can’t you wear it right, the way God intended? You look like an idiot. I know they’re just being kids and I know that God doesn’t care how they wear their hats . . . But you just look so dumb.
This is a judgmental side of me that I don’t like to admit, but I think I’m not alone. When we see other people doing things differently, we think, That’s just wrong. When we see sagging pants, mullets (I used to rock one), and sideways hats, we object because that’s not how we do it. We do it right. Your way looks stupid. Often, we then attach a moral judgment to our disapproval. That doesn’t just look stupid. It’s inappropriate and wrong.
I usually catch my critical thoughts before they escape my mouth, but I do recall one occasion when I was openly critical of another’s cultural practices. While speaking with a friend from India, he explained that his marriage had been arranged and that he planned on arranging his children’s marriages as well. That’s a little archaic, isn’t it? In America we respect people’s right to choose for themselves. He pointed out that our divorce rate was far higher than India’s, which gave me pause. My friend’s way may seem archaic and wrong to me, but it’s worked for him.
Today’s passage describes one such arranged marriage. In it, Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac. God led the servant to Rebekah and when she brought him home to meet her family, the servant proposed for Isaac. Rebekah was asked her opinion on the matter, but Isaac was never even asked. We’re told the two married and then fell in love – in that order.
My point in this blog is not that we should go back to arranged marriages. I’m simply pointing out that my way of doing a thing isn’t necessarily morally right, just because it’s how I’ve always done it. There are things that are right and wrong, but there are also a lot of things that are simply an arbitrary or cultural preference. In condemning others for their music, dress, hairstyle, makeup, or jewelry, I indulge in my judgmental, condescending nature, proving that I’m the one who’s actually stupid and wrong.