Wednesday, March 10, 2004

12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee 9

12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me): Finding Grace to Live Unmasked by John Fischer on Amazon

STEP 9: "We are seeking through prayer and meditation to make a conscious effort to consider others better than ourselves."

POSTWORLD!!!!!

Some notes on the step 9 text:

12 steps for the recovering pharisee book cover"Servant of this gospel!" The incident about the guy who'd "completely misconstrued" the conversation even though he'd only heard a little of it. Interesting about the group's discounting what the guy had said about JF. The addictiveness of being treated as a special person by outsiders when you're not treated that way at home by insiders who sort of think they know you. Yes! Next Sunday's (Lent 6) 2nd lesson from Philippians 2! Page 122: seeing others as they could be in Christ and thus "creating an environment for it to be so." Also, seeing myself as who I'd be without Christ! Casting blame on others or taking the blame ourselves? This gets back to our E-Forum discussion a couple weeks ago about being called into community and our covenantal interresponsibility. Page 126: being beguiled "by the cares and pleasures of the world."

1. Do we have a responsibility to consider criticism even if it is delivered in a way that is not constructive? Is there anyone from whom we should not accept criticism?

Yes. I've discovered even when or if someone else's (friend, foe or stranger) assessment of me is 95% incorrect, there's almost always a morsel of truth in what they're saying, in however accusatory a manner it may come across. And when someone's assessment of me is close to 95% glowing, I need to be aware of what they're leaving unsaid or (possibly) of what they're not aware of.

2. How can we consider others better than ourselves without having a self-image problem? If we consider ourselves to be the least of the least, how can we believe that we have value?

I don't see it a matter of considering "others better than ourselves" at all; too many of us are far too self-deprecating and despite bravado appearing to the contrary, most of us have a far too lowly sense of self-worth, even when our formal theology's got it right. To me it's about assuming the "attitude" of a servant and the corresponding willingness to "pour out" our lives – as in the Philippians text!

3. If everyone else's sin is none of our business, how are we accountable to each other? Is there any place for confrontation in our Christian walk? What are the guiding principles for this issue?

I believe our mutual accountability is mainly in the realm of our interresponsibility to support each other, and that means being sensitive and perceptive to where others are. Of course, everyone doesn't have exactly wonderful gifts and experiences functioning in that are. Oh, confrontation? No, not if by "confrontation" JF is referring to an accusatory, attacking manner. But at times, when a problem or situation persists, we do need to try "speaking the truth in love."

4. How would seeing with the eyes of Jesus instead of our own make a difference in our relationships?

Of course we know Jesus saw both the godliness and the depravity (or at least the potential godliness and depravity) in everyone with complete clarity. Even those of us who are in Christ and have been walking the Lord of Life for a long time need to be very, very cautious and realize our vision often is hazy, cloudy, skewed and just plain backwards and inside-out. I don't know what else to add.

5. How is it possible that there is something true or noble or right or pure or lovely or admirable in every person? Is there anyone you can think of for whom this is not the case? Even through Christ's eyes?

Duh . . . because God created every person! No, I don't know of anyone who doesn't have some of these qualities, but like our gifts for service and our spiritual gifts, everyone has different proportions of the gifts in this Pauline list.

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