Nobody likes being told what to do. But we can shrug most of it off.
“I like your hair better short.”
“Maybe not the red tie?”
“You should do your lawn like this.”
“Your breath stinks, man! Chew some gum or something!”
No big deal.
But when it comes to questions of morality or right or wrong? Things that we maybe should be willing to listen to outside input about?
“You know, maybe sleeping with fifteen girls a week, sans protection, isn’t the best idea.”
“Fraud is wrong. Knock it off or I’m turning you in.”
“Crack is wack, yo.”
We go nuclear!
The mere mention of anything touching these dimensions can make even the most self-proclaimed, brave, “I-never-get-offended” free-speech proponent go bonkers and try to shut you up.
Because it strikes a nerve within us. A nerve we all have no matter how much we think we’re different.
I think of this halfway through Holy Week, near the end of Lent, when Christians commemorate the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. Wednesday is the day Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, betrayed Christ to the chief priests in exchange for thirty pieces of silver.
John tells us that Judas was resentful at how Christ allowed Mary, sister of Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead, to anoint him with costly oil:
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,
Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.
John is the only one of the four Gospel authors who calls Judas a thief, but the fact remains that he was the betrayer.
And yet other Gospels describe grumbling about this issue among all of the disciples. But Judas was the only one who took action.
This always struck me as odd. If Judas did not like the life of discipleship, or no longer believed, that Jesus was Lord, he could have left at any time. And although some suggest he was displeased that Christ did not turn out to be the political savior many Jews in Roman-occupied Judea had been praying for, why sell him out?
Maybe Judas recognized his own failings, and rather than try to change himself, he wanted to change the world to conform to him instead?
If he was a thief, maybe he’d rather put his lot in with others who were thieves than the guy telling him that thievery is wrong.
Think about it: Isn’t that where we are now? Maybe that’s why we hate moral intervenors so much.
(Leaving aside that some moral intervenors are flat-out wrong in their pronouncements. Because some are right.)
It’s almost as if we know how important these things are deep in our souls, but being bent human beings, we deny it as long and as hard as we can.
It doesn’t matter who says it: a loved one, a politician or celebrity, an actual moral authority, or a random person on the Internet. It rubs us the wrong way either way.
Take the religion aspect out of it. Even if you’re not saying “Belive in Christ!” or “Eating bacon will send you to hell!” it’s a topic that rankles.
But no matter who you are, no matter what you do, you feel it, the common sense of something that’s written in our hearts (or evolutionarily hard-wired, if that’s your belief, though that seems like a pretty bad survival mechanism if you ask me).
This can create a dissonance beteeen what we do and what we should do. And we know it.
I suppose it’s another fundamental trait of human nature that nobody likes being told that they are wrong. This explains our skill at rationalizing even the most abhorrent of behaviors. Don’t believe me? Explain the push to normalize sex with children then.
It’s easier to blame “society” for your failings than yourself.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see how this is bad for your mental health. And physical health. And spiritual health.
This is where we are. This explains many movements that otherwise make no sense to a decent person with even a modicum of common sense.
Because the enemy loves confusion.
The enemy thrives on your bewilderment.
The enemy wants you to doubt yourself. It makes it easier for them to operate.
Who is the enemy? It depends on who you ask. It could be globalists…jihadists…bankers…Republicans…Democrats…those people “over there”…the devil himself…
Usually, a commonality between all enemies is that they want power and money–which is really just one of many manifestations of power–at your expense.
And to extract that from you, it’s easier to keep you angry, distracted, and confused. Because often your anger is channeled into something that ultimately benefits them.
The best way to combat this is to make sure you are strong in all respects. Not a dominant bully, but independent enough to take care of yourself and your loved ones, and to know as best as possible what is real and what isn’t.
For some, religion helps with this. It helps for me. But maybe that’s not your bag. That’s fine. I know that something else is.
This is why I tend to have a positive view of a lot of the self-improvement stuff that’s out there. The best bulwark against confusion is truth. We seek the truth in many ways, but these paths all lead to the same ultimate conclusions.
Confusion is the enemy. And often times the best way to fight this enemy is to fight yourself.
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