"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Claws and Horns

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When God created Adam and Eve, He made them naked.  Utterly and completely naked.

I have been thinking of this today as I ponder and I think about my pride.

Pride can take on so many forms---some more detectable than others.  We all see, hear, and notice the gregarious boaster or the person who is verbally desperate to take credit; that type of pride is shown forth clearly and tastes awful to most onlookers.  But, what about the pride that is a still-small-voice of judgement in our hearts towards others.  "They really should do this..."..."That is so wrong"...."She is so immature"... "I can't believe he said that"... This pride is deep and insidious; causing shame within and without.  This quiet pride of self-righteousness--- the assumption that I am "above" or "beyond" or "separate" from you....  What about this pride?

Father, have mercy.  

Or the kind of pride that is self-indulgent and self-obsessed.  Sometimes masking itself as insecurity or even "humility", this pride leave self as center.  Physical self, spiritual self... either way "self" becomes primary.  We just can't help but think of ourselves---our comfort, our health, our wholeness, and our security.  This pride also gets labeled as "not thinking ever about myself"...because we are "constantly thinking of others".  But, in reality, we are most deeply thinking of ourselves.  For if our children are happy, then we will be happy.  If our co-workers are happy, then they will like me and I will be okay---  All this "service" of others can indeed only be, deeply, about ME.

Father, have mercy.  

Or, the pride that insists (usually internally) on "my" rights.  We might like to call it justice or righteous anger.  But, who, really are we defending?

Father, have mercy on me.  

And then there is the pride that desperately seeks to place blame elsewhere.  Anyone but me!  This pride is desperate to shine the damning light on someone else---anyone else.

I have been thinking about our nakedness:  Human nakedness.  It has struck me that God did not create humans like he created most every other creature--- he gave us no thick skin, no warm coat, no horns, no hoofs or claws, no poison or venom.  We were not given any armor.  God gave us no physical defenses.  We are a deeply dependent and needy beings.   We are vulnerable.  We were, on purpose, created naked.

But, let's be honest...  we really, really don't like this about ourselves!  We have tried from day-go to cover ourselves.  Once our eyes were opened to evil, in fact, we ran and hid and began pointing our fingers "to her" or "him" or "it".  Let me tell you, God, why it isn't MY fault!  Ah... the naked was now shameful.  Shame is such a painful reality of our now-nakedness.

We create our defenses: our armor and claws---of all sorts and colors.  One of our favorite weapons against this shame is pride; for pride is a nice thick shell.  It yells and screams out to the world "I am okay" and "Don't mess with me!" "I have no needs".   Pride...our covering---our claws and horns.

But, indeed, that is not true.  God created us, you and me, naked.  Naked and unashamed is God's heart for us.  For, He alone is to be our shield, our fortress, our strong rock and our substance. God alone is my defense!

Father God, have mercy on me.
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