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Amazed or Sneering? (34)
Christopher B. Harbin
When life takes us by surprise, we react in different ways. Sometimes it is with amazement, at other times it may be by writing off those involved by sneering. The same occurs in our discussions of social issues and politics when we encounter those who don't agree with us or respond as we expect. Whether we accept or reject another's position is not nearly as important as the attitude we display toward one whose actions, words, or priorities surprise us.
When we are amazed by others, we may still keep our minds and lives open to them. When we sneer, however, we cut off relationship. We close ourselves to what may be a need to open our lives to the influence or impact of others. If we are not careful, we may miss more than an annoying challenge to our habits, traditions, culture, or norms of life. Our prejudices may block us from evaluating something helpful and positive. Often as not, however, our prejudices come out when we are surprised. We sneer, we shun, we turn away from what we may perceive as a threat to our faith and expectations.
While sneering at what surprises us is a very natural human reaction, it is a defense mechanism. It is a barrier we erect to distance ourselves. If something is going on I do not understand, it might or might not be important to me. I can take the time to process what is going on, or I can write it off as irrelevant or stupid. It might indeed be irrelevant, but if it turns out to be important, there could well be a price to pay. We may actually be shutting ourself off from God's direction for our lives. In the text of Acts 2, the residents of Jerusalem were among those who were sneering at Galileans speaking languages they could not understand.
God tends to surprise us when we are actually following the leadership of Christ Jesus. It was the norm for the disciples on their faith journey of discovery during Jesus' ministry. At times, ho ...
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