Monday, November 20, 2006

Pride

When we came out to Middle Earth there were many things to adjust to. One thing that was new to me was the unreal level of injustice. Injustice makes me angry. Everyone I know out here has a traffic police story to tell about how they were abused . Many of my friends say with pride that they will NEVER pay a bribe. I used to be like that. Full of righteous indignation I would argue with those who sought to abuse me. One day I saw myself too clearly.
I was traveling in a taxi with a bunch of nationals I did not know up over a high mountain pass. As we approached the top there was a baracade across the road. Next to the baracade there was a sign that said that the road was closed from 8am to 11am. Well, it was nearly noon and the gate was still down. More importantly, I had been over this road many times and there had never been a post here before. A couple of old men sat by the road on a bench near the gate. The driver called out, 'Hey, what's going on?' One guy slowly got up and came over. The driver said, 'So, what's the deal here? Do you need money? Here, take 25 cents.' Now, you don't know what was going on in my heart at the time. I was fuming. Who were these guys to set up an illegal checkpoint and take our money? They had no right to do this. And why was our driver giving in to this extortion so easlily? Could he not see that these guys were stealing from us? They were evil. They should all be brutally slaughtered. So runs the unchecked thoughts deep in my heart.
The gate went up and we drove on. The driver looked over his shoulder and spoke to us (gosh, I wish he wouldn't do that on these mountain roads). "These people are so poor up here. They really have nothing. They are so hungry they will do anything just to get some bread." Tears shot to my eyes. I was accusing HIM of not seeing the situation! I was the one who was blind. I was the one who was unjust. I have traveled over 12,000 miles to show love to these people and I was ready to kill them all for 25 cents? I was sick. All my talk about my hatred for injustice was nothing more than my own selfish pride. I won't bother to list the multitude of verses from Jesus and Paul that talk about laying down our rights for our fellow man. In the end Galatians 2:20 is not too strong a verse. I need to be crucified with Christ so that I no longer live but Christ would live in me. Part of me was crucified that day. So much more needs to be.

9 comments:

addicted_to_chocolate said...

whoa that sounds kinda like my situation,forgivness is important even when things are unjust.

Anonymous said...

Wow Strider! I absolutely agree...I mean Their is a huge part of myself that needs checked daily sometimes hourly. Right now I'm under significant stress my Grandmother is not doing well at all I do not think she will make it another 2 weeks to be quite honest... and here in the midst of all the hooplahhh it is a tough time to say the very least!!!!! I definately agree with addicted_to_chocolate forgiveness is vital. Please send some positive thoughts our way we need them for sure!

BKC said...

Yeah, it is easy to hold on the idealized American definition of bribes. Thanks for sharing this story.

Strider said...

Hey Anon, It is ok for you to sign your name if you want so I will know which anon you are. In any case I do know who you are and I will be lifting up your family.
Thanks everyone for the kind words.

Andrew Hicks said...

Strider,

Do you think you would feel that way if you weren’t in Mordor? I mean, when you were back in the shire, did you also have some of those same tendencies, and now they are just becoming more evident? Or do you think our enemy Sauron and his Ringwraiths plant some of those thoughts in your head and then try to fan them into flames to try and make you ineffective?

Strider said...

I have a friend who says it is easier to be a chritian in the West than it is here in Gondor. He's wrong. We are more easily deceived in the comfort of home but what is in our heart is the same. I was born wholly selfish and self-centered. Those tendencies continue even though the King has changed me tons.
Now, when I have angry thoughts, or violent thoughts, or arrogant thoughts, or even lustful thoughts I often laugh at them. Tell them they are not mine and cast them out. The battle looks different in different places but the battle rages everywhere just the same. I am not sure this is an answer to Andrew's good questions or the beginning of another post. I will have to think on that.

Anonymous said...

Hey Strider this is angie and I kinda thought you would figure it out. I and my family thank you profusely for your positive thoughts, life tends to get pretty rough for us here in the west and certainly now is a toughy. I am currently working on a blog of my own with my STORY and it shall be a mind bender for those knew me at one time! We do enjoy your story and are learning more about you and look forward to all that you share in this blog.

Anonymous said...

We just can't take our Western thinking and apply it in other countries. In the West, paying and taking bribes is against the law and we wouldn't think of doing it. But, then again, in the West we don't see the extreme poverty that exists in other countries. In many of these poor countries there is no way to make a living at all. So, the real issue is maybe not about paying, or not paying, bribes. If that roadside block hadn't been set up then that poor old man wouldn't have received that money. If that roadside block hadn't been set up how many people would have driven that road without thinking about the extreme poverty in that area? What is our responsibility then as Westerners? What should we be doing so that poor old men don't have to set up roadblocks in the first place?

Strider said...

Thanks Anon, I think that was my point put much more succinctly. But I need to put up a post or three on the humanitarian nature of what we do. Too many in the Church have opted out of this discussion and let Bono do all the talking. He isn't right about everything. We need to speak up. So, stay tuned.