I’m Not a Freaking Idiot

we're not babies

Napoleon Dynamite gets offended when his grandma tells him that’s she sending a relative over to look after him and his 32 year-old brother while she is away.

I find myself getting irritated in much the same manner, getting fired up because I’m fooled into believing that I’m entitled to be treated or spoken to in a certain manner.

“Nobody talks to me the way!  Who do you think you are?”

When I was younger, I found myself in constant conflict, especially in the workplace because I thought somebody was insulting me, trying to push me around, or talking down to me.  Those conflicts have mostly disappeared over time because of two main reasons:

1) Consistent improvement in the basic ability to do the right thing.  One tends to get pretty defensive when one is challenged about something that you knowingly did wrong or failed to do at all.  It becomes much easier to stand your ground without becoming confrontational (and to let insults and challenges roll off your back) as you progress toward being a person who does what they’re supposed to do as well as doing exactly what you say you will do.

2) Learning (slowly) to recognize the times when my own pride leads me to react in ways that simply aren’t righteous or healthy in relationships.

Proverbs 14:3   A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.

“I’m not an idiot.  I deserve a little respect.”

Respect is earned, not commanded……over time.  Obeying God’s commands consistently over time and serving others instead of self accomplishes this……over time, as long as we avoid the mentality of “hey, look at me” and “don’t they know what I have done, don’t they know who I am”.   I will concede that it does sometimes become necessary when dealing with our own children to paint them a little picture of sacrifices that are made for them in order to help them discover the concept of respect and gratitude.  But in general terms, if you are doing the things that earn respect, it shouldn’t be necessary to demand that someone show you respect.

Proverbs 13:10  Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

So as pride diminishes, so does strife, conflict.  But pride never quietly fades away.  We must always be aware of its presence, aware of the times when it falsely guides our thoughts, actions and reactions:
“Karrick, I’m going out the door, don’t fall back asleep and make Kal late for school.”  And PRIDE answers in my head, “yeah, I know, I’m not a freaking idiot.  I’ve been doing this for a while you know.  I deserve to be treated like a responsible adult here!”  But TRUTH says 1) I need to get my tail out of bed  2) I failed to earn respect because I have a history of fouling up little matters like this.
What about coaching basketball games, engaging in conflict with referees?  Not because of bad calls, that comes with the territory.   I say it often, but it’s a poor excuse for poor behavior, “I don’t mind bad officiating, I just can’t stand it when they’re jerks about it.”  Translation= they challenged me or took actions that tried to show me who was in control.  PRIDE on my part answered “I’m not looking for a fight, but I’m not taking a step back either”.  And……even though I tell my players to take care of the things that they control and the things that are important, I fail in that very area.  PRIDE tells me to keep taking steps forward.  Conflict escalates.  The things that are truly important in a basketball game, in life…….are pushed aside.  Derailed by pride.  Losing sight of things that are truly important: people, relationships, the direction of my influence, and my representation of my faith and my Savior.
It’s a dangerous thing to be distracted in life in instances where we allow ourselves to be controlled by feelings of “what we deserve”.  I’m certain that I don’t want to dig and fight too hard in this life for what I truly deserve.

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