(“Pull my finger.”)
We defend ourselves all the time with completely illogical or hypocritical arguments.
“You’re being mean.”
“Well, remember that one time when you were mean to me?”
…as if someone else’s past behavior makes it okay for us to sin back.
The trap we always fall into is that we compare ourselves to each other’s level of goodness. If somehow we are better in one tiny aspect out of a million aspects then we somehow win the argument.
The argument is no longer about if the point we are making is true or not, but if we gooder than the person we are arguing with. (‘Gooder’ is totally a word. If it’s not, it should be.)
This trap goes deeper than that because when we are comparing ourselves to others we no longer are caring if what we do is God’s will or not.
The line of thinking should go, “Billy hit me. What is God’s will for me now?”
“This idiot is arguing with me about some totally illogical political argument, what is God’s will for me now?”
We love ourselves. We love our egos. We love our pride.
We turn any stupid thing into a defense of our pride.
So what do we do?
What we need to do is summed up in this verse…
Phil 2 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
We shouldn’t bring up some past time when they did something wrong – thinking ourselves better than they. We need to swallow our pride and think of their interests.
And the biggest interest we should have for them is their relationship with God.
If they did something mean to you – how can you respond to them in love? How can you minister to them?
If they are being mean to you – how can you help them to stop sinning? How can you bring them closer to God?
Don’t point fingers at them – but rather point them to Christ.
And through this they’ll get gooder and so will we.
1PE 5:5 All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Eph 4 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called–  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Today’s Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness. Kindness to not respond in kind but to respond with God’s will in mind.
Take time to pray: Ask for forgiveness for your pride and ask for the humility needed to stay focused on His will rather than our ego.