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How Good Are You?

10 Comments 01 August 2010

I am new to the whole blogging world, but I have had a good time zipping around and reading other blogs.  It can be quite overwhelming as there are gazillion blogs out there and I have, oh, about three minutes a day to read, but hey, I’m trying.  I did stumble upon an interesting one the other day on BlogHer called Jesus Loves You, but I’m His Favorite and it caught my attention.  The post pointed to studies that were written up in an article called Stumbling Blocks on the Path to Righteousness in The NYTimes.

It was a very thought provoking post and article and my mind made an immediate leap to a post I read recently on an old colleague’s blog about how we choose our friends.  The post took the age old adage, “Bad company corrupts good morals” and exhorted all those reading to stay away from “bad” friends.

It made me think, though probably not the things that my old colleague intended.  It made me ask myself, how good are you?  And I said to myself, self, “Honestly, you know yourself better than anyone and I am fairly certain that you couldn’t put yourself up on some pedestal of morality as a beacon for others.”  (okay, no more 3rd person) Though I want to live by the golden rule and treat others with kindness, I am a very selfish, angry, broken and messed-up individual. (The list is longer, but I’m going for brevity!)

I do believe that God loves me, in spite of even my worst foibles, but that certainly doesn’t make me “good company.”  I think the older I get and the more I have lived through in my life, the more I see myself as more similar to other people than different.  For me to look out into my world and decide who deserves my community, my friendship…that would be a daunting task if I saw myself as morally superior.  There are friends in my life who do not share my belief system.  There are friends in my life that do not even believe in a god, much less the God in whom I place my personal faith.  Yet our similarities are far greater than our differences.  I love these people and have far more to learn from them than I often care to admit.  All of my friends, regardless of their morality, are human beings who, in my opinion, deserve honor and dignity.  I am grateful that they love me in return.

To say that those people, those friends, those human beings do not deserve my friendship, that seems contrary to everything that I believe to be true about my faith.  There has always been a strand of piety that has laced it way through the faith that I profess and I spent years being a card-carrying member of that group.  However, life and its experience has leveled any thought that I am better or less corrupt than the next guy.  Humility and compassion are far more attractive to me than superiority and self-righteousness.  Besides, as Benefict Carey, of the NYTimes article states, “walking around in a pair of moral platform shoes does make it harder to get up when you fall.” I personally know that fall well.

I have to ask myself, what am I afraid of if I walk away from relationships with people who have differing views than me?  Am I afraid that my beliefs or views or opinions cannot withstand a bit of questioning?  Am I afraid that the posterity of my religious beliefs rest soley on my ability to carry them out?  Am I afraid that others within my faith community will think poorly of me if I associate with those who do not espouse the same beliefs?  The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” on all counts.  However, it is impossible to love people without being a part of their lives, even the parts of their lives with which you disagree.

My faith centers around Jesus, and anyone who knows anything about him, either those who practice following him or those who despise him, will tell you that he was a friend to all…especially those who were  considered morally corrupt by the religious community of which he was a part.  Truth be told, I want my life to reflect that same love and care and humility, much more than I want it to reflect those who have “good morals.”

Why?  Because I am certain of only a few things in this life and one is that I am not good enough…otherwise, I wouldn’t need faith at all!

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10 Comments so far

  1. Mary says:

    Good post, Jorja!

    • Jorja says:

      mary, thanks, i have a been thinking about it for a while. the brevity of a post doesn’t really allow you to explain a lot, but i hope i was clear. anyway, thanks!

  2. Demps says:

    Enjoyed this post, Jorja. Keep it up. I agree with you and I’m thankful that Jesus was willing to be criticized as a “friend of sinners”. This is just the kind of friend that this “sinner” needs and wants to be. Maybe it’s just the mileage but I find it much easier to identify with the broken-down and beat-up these days than the morally superior.

    • Jorja says:

      demps, good to have a male perspective! ha! and yes, maybe it is mileage for both of us, or just the humility that comes from seeing how needy we really are…hard to keep judging once you know the depths of your own brokenness! thanks!

  3. Prasanta says:

    Enjoyed this post, Jorja. Love and authenticity– they’re what the Pharisees didn’t have, but on morality, they scored high; superb rule-followers, but poor lovers of mankind. God is looking at how we love, not on how many boxes we checked and what rules we followed, or who are friends are…. Our truest, most balanced view of ourselves is found on our knees. Continue to love.

    • Jorja says:

      prasanta, well said my friend, well said! it seems it is harder for me to truly love the morally superior than anyone else. but still, we are all the same…very broken.

  4. I find myself always surprised when someone who opens identifies themselves as being religious or as having FAITH – wants to be my friend. I always figure that once they really get to know the real me, they’ll flea in horror – and perhaps that is the reason why some people HAVE left my life without so much as a word – but then there are others who stay, and I am grateful to them for NOT being morally superior and (as a result) obnoxious. 🙂

    There’s a lady who comes to my door about every week or 2, wanting to explain her faith to me (and my kids). Each week, I smile and nod and ultimately, admire her for having this faith that I can’t seem to find, and I am always friendly and smile. I find myself slightly jealous of this “knowledge” that she and others like her have (or feel, really) that ultimately, there’s something BETTER some day – but I think pessimism holds too strong a grip on me to let that through.

    Once again, I have to say I really look forward to meeting you, Jorja!

    • Jorja says:

      hey my dear roomate, you are gracious to continue to allow this lady to “share” with you. i have learned that faith is not something that we just decided to have, it comes in time to those who seek truth, even to cynical gals like you and i. i too look forward to hanging out with you in nyc! sorry about the stupid poken thing! see, i can’t even figure out how to make a contest work! super blogger that i am! 😉

  5. Anna See says:

    Love this, Jorja! So very, very true! Check out my friend’s blog– http://www.momastery.blogspot.com

    Read her story.

    I think you just might love it!

    xo, Anna

    • Jorja says:

      anna, hey girl, thanks for coming over to visit the site. i looked up your friend and yes, i think it will be fun to read her…and YOU! really enjoyed you.


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“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them...” Annie Dillard

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