by: Scott F Paradis
The first sin of ego is hubris – arrogance. The arrogance of ego is to insist, “I know best.” “I know what is right.” “I know the answers.” “I know the way.” “And the world will conform to my will.” This all to frequent human failing is illustrated through an old story:
A man of supreme faith in God waited and watched as torrents of rain fell raising the nearby river. In a few days the river overflowed its banks. The water began to flood the man’s home. After three days of fighting off flood waters a neighbor came by in a canoe to ask our hero if he needed help getting to dry land. No, the man insisted, God would care for him. He sent the good Samaritan on his way. The water continued to rise, until the man was trapped on the second story of his house. Within hours a speedboat came by, its driver offered the man a lift to drier, safer ground. Again the man rejected the offer; God would save him. The waters continued to rise, forcing the man to scramble onto his roof. As daylight broke after a miserable night a helicopter flew in, dropping a line to pull the man to safety. Again the man refused, claiming God would rescue him. Finally raging waters collapsed the house, drowning our would-be hero in the torrent. The man, upon seeing God in heaven, lamented, “Lord I put my faith in you to rescue me.” God looked at the man with pity and replied, “Well, heck, I sent a canoe, a speedboat, and a helicopter — what more did you expect?”
Like this man, we invest ourselves in the belief that life is supposed to be a certain way. We mistakenly punish ourselves through pride and hubris as we seek to be “right” rather than to be “happy”; to get “our way” rather than to “have peace”; to be “vindicated” rather than exist in “harmony.” We judge people and circumstances that do not measure up to our preconceptions.
We judge people and conditions by appearance, by demeanor, by expression, by every sense and faculty. Every judgment is an exultation of “I” – “ego” over the “other” and the “whole.” We seek power, we crave control, even if only in the confines of our self-righteous sentiment. By extolling ego and making judgments we remain lost and alone in a divided, dangerous world – a circumstance of our own making.
To be and accept fully what you truly are — a child of God — embraced by the Creator‘s immeasurable love, you must release the vain comfort of judging. As you journey through the adventure of life, forego the ego’s attempt to seize power and bestow position by condemning individuals or circumstances. Discipline your need to judge. This is no easy task — the ego is a crafty force. Only through personal vigilance, can you master ego.
Luke, chapter six, verse 37 reads: “Judge not lest ye be judged.” This exhortation is not so much a foreboding of the end days and final judgment as it is practical advice to realize a full and fulfilling life. The opportunity before you is one of unlimited potential. Do not squander the prospect for joy by shackling yourself to unproductive perceptions. Don’t waste your energy judging and condemning.
Refuse to judge, rather meet life on its terms and revel in the adventure trusting that God has the big picture well in hand.