Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Melativity" revisited

Penning Mel’s theory of relativity (see previous post) got me thinking about the whole relativity issue. And it gave me a little stab of guilt, right in the gut—because if truth be told, I am guilty of occasional judgment on others—and glorification of self—thanks to relativity.

For example, how many times have I excused my own behavior by looking around me and thinking, Hey, I’m not as bad as so-and-so? I’ve pulled that flimsy line out of my pocket to justify tests unstudied for, to comfort myself after hurting another’s feelings, to make acceptable a behavior that I knew in my heart was wrong.

The worst part is admitting that I whip out Mel’s ol’ theory of relativity in matters of faith. I’ve stood self-righteously atop many a soapbox, including the Christian soapbox, and I’ve told myself that at least I’m not a gossip like that woman (well, actually, I am sometimes) and thank goodness I can admit when I’m wrong about something (oh really? Ask my husband about that) and it’s a sign of my growth that I don’t get mad at God when things don’t go my way (hmmmmm… wonder what God would say about that?) and…you get the idea.

It’s funny in a sick kind of way that I’ve compared myself to others over and over as a means of minimizing my sin. I can’t think of any believer who hasn’t done that at some point. Yet, the Bible seems pretty clear about this issue. This is only one of many references:

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
-2 Corinthians 10:12

It would seem that relativity among people doesn’t mean a whole lot. I’m supposed to be relating to all the other folks around me, but I’m not supposed to judge myself relative to whether those other folks are being holier or less holy than I am. I am instructed to compare myself to only One.

So, I’m sad to say that in matters of righteousness, my theory of relativity falls sadly flat. It’s stinkin’ thinkin,’ you might say. (Ah, remember Stuart Smalley? Remember the good old days when SNL made up its own parodied figures instead of mocking real, live people? Oops, there I go comparing again…)

All this blathering just goes to show that theories are only theoretical. But you knew that. The theory of evolution proves it even better than melativity does. *

* For a funny little 5-minute lesson on evolution’s improbability, hit the library and borrow the children’s book Yellow and Pink by William Steig. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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