What is too sublime for you, do not seek; do not reach into things that are hidden from you. What is committed to you, pay heed to; what is hidden is not your concern. In matters that are beyond you do not meddle, when you have been shown more than you can understand. SIRACH 3:21-23
Sometimes I get in way over my head. Everyone is suddenly a commentator or inquisitioner, all knowing and easily hoodwinked. We evangelize to each other offering theories and statistics — statistics that can seem to prove the opposite to opposing factions. I’ve never once won the day by being snarky to my children and try not to bring that side of myself to my interactions with friends online — though this has been tough. I’ve failed a few times to step back a second before diving into debates that are pointless.
When the proud are afflicted, there is no cure; for they are offshoots of an evil plant. SIRACH 28
For a long time now we’ve glorified self-esteem. As if having special feelings for ourselves would bring peace on Earth! The opposite is true. When we think our limited intellects are capable of digesting propaganda and at the same time able to realize our personal blindspots it’s called pride. Of course sometimes we might hit on a truth, but in this swirling new world of endless ideas and imagery we kid ourselves if we think we have all the answers — for ourselves or the people we judge without taking the time for backstory.
Over Thanksgiving I realized that one of the harsh opinions I shared with a family member may have actually hurt her though I hadn’t meant for her to take it personally. My first thought was that she was being ridiculously sensitive and basically stupid. Now I love this person, but that’s where my mind went. I knew in order to save the holiday I had to address the situation with her — I did it grudgingly. She had to be convinced to answer my call. Yet when we spoke it became impossible to remain unmoved. The voice on the other end of the phone was human, familiar. She was making her best effort too. We didn’t try to convince each other of anything. We agreed to disagree on some pretty significant issues.
When she forgave me there was a little part of me that felt annoyed that she didn’t ask me for forgiveness — that pride again. We promised to go for lunch after the holidays. We said we loved each other.
Pride is a horrible affliction. It’s more contageous than any virus, more repulsive than the worst politician because we all have it. There is no cure, only home remedies that sometimes allow for hurts to scab over.
I love the internet. I love pretty pictures and captivating stories. But I also feel drawn to controversy and foul play. Even though it’s not the end of the year yet, I’m resolving to leave alone online debating. Unless I can be face-to-face or at least hear the voice of a real human over the phone I’m going to keep snarky commentary to myself.
The kindness people have done crosses their paths later on; should they stumble, they will find support. SIRACH 31