This reflection is part public confession and part self-reminder of how not to share the Faith. I’ve caught myself (and others) doing many of these things in face-to-face conversations and on social media. It’s human nature to get sucked into these ways of interacting with others. So, this is a “note to self” to avoid these pitfalls and walk a better path.
The problem isn’t the Faith. The problem is that the Faith is being followed by people that have not yet reached perfection. I think it was Mother Angelica who said, “If it wasn’t for people being holy would be easy.”
Lord, help me to do better.
So, without further ado, here are some ways to be a jerk with the Faith (or even just a jerk in general):
Give in to your insecure “need to be right.”
Be a know-it-all. Have an answer for everything. Never say, “I don’t know.” Never admit that you might have a thing or two to learn. Don’t have a teachable spirit. Admitting you might be wrong or misinformed about something is just weakness, not a valid way to learn and grow.
Tell others how wrong they are.
If being right all the time isn’t enough, by all means, let others know how wrong they are. Point out and criticize where everyone else falls short. For that special touch, make sure to do it in a way that “means well.”
No need to really listen to the thoughts, feelings and words of other people. Focus on your own thoughts, feelings and words. Who has time to listen when there is so much to say? Empathy is overrated.
Hand out lots of unsolicited advice.
People need your opinions and your experience if they’re going to survive. How on earth does anyone make it without you? God forbid anyone make their own mistakes, learn their own lessons, do their own research or walk their own journey.
Judge people’s souls, motives and intentions.
Some behaviors are moral and some are immoral, but don’t stop there. Make sure to inform the people that are going to Hell of their destination and save God some time on Judgement Day.
Ignore the “plank” in your eye.
Plank? What plank? There can’t be any planks in your eye, otherwise you wouldn’t be so good at spotting all those splinters in everyone else’s eyes.
Brag about how happy/joyful/blessed you are.
You’re happy and blessed, dog gone it! Make sure everyone knows about it so they can see how high the bar has been set. After all, those miserable, unhappy people need something to shoot for in life. They need to be more like you.
Use sarcasm, call people names or just be generally arrogant and puffed up. Look upon people with contempt. See them as stupid, ignorant, evil, or any other label besides “person created in God’s image.”