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THE ICKINESS OF OTHERS’ SIN
I keep wondering what prompts moral outrage in society. Some of us fixate on outward forms of morality and conformance. We’re especially heavy on others whose sin holds no attraction to us. Is it deflection? “Don’t look at the greed and hatred in my heart. Look over there; notice that icky sinner. Concentrate on THAT sin!”
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.Matthew 23:27-28 (NIV)
I must credit my mother for pointing me to the virtue of thin-skinned, “imperfect” oranges. You couldn’t fool Billie Jean Hepp.
I was talking with a friend about this issue of moral outrage, and a different explanation emerged. It goes like this: People don’t really care about changing mores as much as they pretend to themselves and others. What they DO care about is being loyal to “our side” and the assortment of values espoused by “our side.” If the “other side” starts saying that (let’s come up with something silly) “all good men wear beards,” then you can count on it that “our side” will all agree that beards are evil, and must be banned. This agreement to rage about something as beautiful and sensible as beards doesn’t make sense, and “our side” doesn’t ACTUALLY care about the issue. It’s just that we’re in an all-out war to preserve the privilege secured for us by “our side.” Every hill becomes a hill to die on. Tribalism is juvenile.
“Thinking out loud….” I continue exploring my theory that selfishness is a common underlying motive that ultimately explains most of the weird behavior explored above. It sure has explained a lot in my own life!
(background image by Coleur on Pixabay)
#whitewashedtombs #pharisees #beautifulontheoutside #matthew23vv27-28