Please, understand the heart of what I’m about to share, and not take it as a slight against a movement that exposed serious problems in our nation…but I’m going to start a new #MeToo movement. It is a movement where we recognize and call out our own faults and humbly address the planks in our own eyes rather than seek to point out the speck in everyone else’s eyes and try to fix them, which, as we all know, can’t happen. We can’t fix others. But, we can address the issues in ourselves and hopefully help others see the issues in themselves by allowing them to see how we confront them in ourselves.
I’ll go first…I used to like controversy. Understatement, actually, I used to LOVE controversy. In fact, there are still times where I have to fight the urge to jump headlong into it. It has taken a few years of introspection, and several months (almost a full year) of clinical counseling, to address a lot of this in my life. There is still a lot of work I need to do…but I’m glad I began this process earlier in my life rather than later, as I feel that the longer you reside in this place, the harder it becomes to get out of it.
I stumbled across an article from The Gospel Coalition today written by Russel Moore (president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention) titled, Why Unhealthy People Crave Controversy. As I began to read it I found it to be so reflective of the person I had become and the life I had settled in to. It was scary. It was like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else describe me to me.
One paragraph from the article below that sums up the danger that I found myself in is this:
“Again, quarrels sometimes come, and sometimes those controversies are what it takes to be faithful to the Spirit. But just as one engaged in sexual immorality can always convince himself that this is a special case of “love,” “soulmates,” or “destiny,” the one with an unhealthy craving for controversy can always convince himself that he’s a warrior for Christ—instead of a captive to his passions.”
Ouch! I did this very thing. I would engage in controversy, and even stir it up (especially on social media) and then convince myself that I was just being a warrior for Christ and experiencing persecution from others who hated the truth (and others even patted me on the back and said as much). When in reality, it was I who hated the truth.
But what a comparison…comparing my love of controversy and my justification of it to one engaged in sexual immorality and justifying it. By doing this I became no better than an adulterer convincing myself that my affair was the exception to the adultery rule.
In another paragraph, the author of this article points out an important fact about Jesus’s life:
“In the rare moments we see anger from Jesus, it is never about protecting his own sense of worth, never about performative outrage in order to be accepted by a tribe, and certainly never about gaining power. His anger was never quarrelsome, never animalistic, never from the works of the flesh.”
You see…I had taken the stories like Jesus calling the pharisees names, and flipping tables at the temple, and used them to convince myself that I was just being like Jesus…if you can’t handle being called a name or having your tables flipped…then clearly I was doing my job at being more like Jesus and you were clearly just acting more like your father the devil.
I was wrong of course. And ignorant of my own peril.
After I had begun to recognize these things in myself, I began to try and correct course. This, unfortunately, involved removing several people out of my social media life. And for some people, it actually involved removing them out of my real life. It was hard…and I tried to confront their desire to continue to stir up strife and controversy kindly and let them know that I had no desire to continue in that way…but they persisted…and so I had to let them go.
The author of this article puts what I had to do this way:
The apostle Paul called for a kind of controversy to deal with those stirring up “foolish” controversies: “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him” (Titus 3:10). This is a very different kind of controversy—it starts with gentleness and reasonableness, and ends in removing oneself rather than engaging in the quarrelsomeness from the other side.
Removing people from my life was (and still is) a hard task. Especially when they are people I have grown to love, care about, or even look up to as mentors. But there are times where the only way to move forward is to remove them from my life.
As I began to remove these people from my life, and address the planks in my eye, I began to find that the fruits of the Spirit that were horribly lacking in my life were beginning to come to the surface.
I had spent so many years drowning them out, and pushing them down, that I had completely lost sight of these fruits.
Now, I’m no expert at these things. I’m still growing, and learning, and being challenged every single day. But, I am finding it easier and easier to find peace, kindness, and grace for others when I’m not spending my time trying to prove them wrong all the time.
We come to the end of this article, but not the end of the journey. After reading this far, do you find anything from the above that looks like you?
Don’t feel alone…#MeToo.