I saw a headline the other day on a Facebook post. My first reaction was, “See? That’s what happens when you . . “ And then I stopped.
The story and my reaction gave me a glimpse of something in my heart. I want to be right. I want my choices to be vindicated.I want those people to always be wrong. I want people who pick that way to always have those consequences.
The headline writers always want some reaction. The algorithms that feed those stories to people with our patterns of internet interaction are inviting us to say, “See, I’m right. See, they are messed up.”
But my reaction isn’t the fault of the writers and the system. (“See, if they didn’t say that, I wouldn’t react poorly.”)
My reaction is a result of not wanting to do the hard work of saying, “God, search my heart. With me watching, sort through my thoughts. If you find anything that doesn’t belong, point it out and you can clean it out and send me back out on the right path.”
For some of us, that’s the familiar ending of Psalm 139. Right before it, David talks about hating those who hate God. But his response is to turn to his own life, his own heart, his own behavior, his own relationship with God.
We often think, “See, they are messed up, I’ll confess their sins for them.” Perhaps we would be better served by thinking, “See, humans can be in trouble. I can spend time with God about the ways I need help.”