Lately, I have really been struggling with resentment. This is not a new default for me as I am an Enneagram 1 who is motivated to improve all the things and is real angsty and angry when others don’t get on the “Be better; do better” bandwagon.
I think it’s because I have believed the lie of moral dessert for so long (yup, that is dessert with two “S’s”--think Oreo cake balls and French Silk pie. Not dry, barren land). Let’s unpack what I mean by that. Basically, I operate from a place where I behave in a way I perceive to be moral and upright (working hard, being loyal, serving others, etc.), and then I believe that I deserve all good things. All the time. From God. From the people who get to be around me and bask in my righteous glow...
Baha! I mean, typing it out it sounds super ridiculous. But I 100% believe those things on some level based on my thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
These last few weeks when faced with what I fervently believe to be injustices-big and small- I have gotten whiny and just downright filled with rage. If this resonates with you, then you know how difficult it has been to live in this current version of America. When you whole-heartedly and perhaps naively hold to the idea that people in power should use that power to do the most good for the most people without regard to their personal gain or pride, then escaping resentment and anger can be, well, difficult.
To add another level of confusion, I truly believe in the grace of Jesus. That we are not defined solely by our mistakes or awesomeness at any given time, but that our belief in Jesus and His sacrifice is what really counts. Messed up people can be saved, and “good” people can be lost. It goes against my grain. It chafes and rubs at my sensibilities of what is just and right and fair. And the older I get, the less I am sure of any of those big ideas I’ve clung to for so long. Those decisions about right and wrong that were formed far before I had any real ability to come to any conclusions about anything.
This past week I finished listening to Job on the Daily Audio Bible app, and the story that I have been familiar with forever hit me in a new way. Job was a good guy. He was faithful to God in times of bounty, and he remained faithful when he lost everything. His wife and friends were basic turds, and a lot of haughty speculation about God was bandied about between them. The friends blab on and on, and Job throws his two cents out there too. I mean he’s really got nothing else to do, and he’s gotten dumped on even though he was faithful. If any person had a right to resentment, it was Job. But he was way more chill then I would have been in his position. I bet Job was an Enneagram 1w9. I wing 2 btw.
As a writer and self-proclaimed “good” person, I have taken it upon myself to use all the words and give all my opinions and conjecture on stuff that is way out of my pay grade. I get fiery about injustice, and that is good. God wants us to fight for the orphan and the widow. The immigrant and the downtrodden. We are to speak up and out with love and respect.
But Job’s story also serves as a reminder that as human beings, we can’t be good like God is good. We cannot know what God knows. Yes, we have His Spirit and His Word. But interpretations vary on certain things, and our capabilities to understand those things are limited as He is the Creator and we are the created. My own faith has evolved so much over the years. I do not hold to some of my previous assertions, and I am sure I will change my mind again about those areas that are a little more grey and open to interpretation.
Sometimes, I think we lash out because we are insecure about how much we don’t know. We don’t want to show weakness. Like we could make God weaker by admitting we don’t have all the answers. Impossible. But that is when we have to remind ourselves that it is by faith we are saved. Not works. So that no one can be a braggy git (paraphrasing obvi...but sometimes when I read the Bible I imagine J.K. Rowling reading it, so...there’s that).
There is some freedom in admitting that I do know that I do not know. I’m sure Job felt that way too. Yes, he was good, and still he lost everything, but in the end, God is God and we are just...not.
At the end of his story, Job says, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” And that is why I like Job. He was humble. When he could have been bitter and resentful and angry, he chose humility. His faith in a good God was bigger than all the unfair stuff he experienced. Because of that, God restored all that Job lost and then some.
Will I continue to write what I believe in love and respect? For as long as God lets me. Will I continue to stand up against injustice? Yes, I will because that is who God made me. I just need to remain humble and yielded while doing it. Knowing that my thoughts are not His thoughts. His ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55). I can be as good and moral as a human being can be, and it could never compare to His glory...His understanding.
And I don’t deserve anything. Not a pat on the back, a high five, or cookie. No moral tiramisu. I will keep trying for what’s right because He loves me. Full stop.
“You are God in heaven and here am I on earth. Let my words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:2