I was waiting on a couple of young ladies the other day. By their dress (modest long skirts, slightly old fashioned, homeschooled air to them), I could tell they were quite conservative. Nothing’s wrong with this of course just an observation. I had waited on one of the girl’s families quite a few times and based on snippets of their conversation knew my observation to be correct.
On this particular day I was struck by the topics of the girl’s conversations. While I was only catching brief glimpses into their lives with each refill, it was enough to gather the gist of the conversation. It seemed that a mutual friend wasn’t living up to tradition conservative values. It seemed that the world was increasingly full of corrupt people not keeping the moral code. It seemed that the lady at church wasn’t training her kids right. It seemed that the student at the University weren’t showing Godly respect. It seemed the girls were rejecting homemaking values.
Basically it seemed like life really sucked. In fact, everyone else in the world had pretty much screwed up and these two girls were the only virtuous ones left alive.
Ok I’m exaggerating a bit. But something struck me: the more conservative a person is the more they seem to complain about the state of the world and those around them. Rather than see the many good things (for example the neighbor Bill is no longer beating his wife) they see the negative (he still cusses every once in a while). Rather than delight in God’s work in Britney’s life according to her testimony at Bible study they condemn her low-cut shirt.
Go back and read my post on complaining if you haven’t. It seems that the mental framework of many conservative people is that everything in the world is getting worse. The more rules and regulations they set up to govern their own lives the more they notice others that are not living up to these rules and regulations. And this in turn makes the world a worse place.
I recall reading the Bible once and noticing the Pharisees. These guys were the religious conservatives of Jesus’ day. They had all the right rules, the right clothes, the right Bible verses, the right lingo. These guys were legit worshippers. Or were they? Jesus called them out though. Among many other things he called them out for asking their fellow Jews to carry loads that were too heavy to bear and then not even lifting a finger to help (see Matthew 23).
Certainly Jesus wasn’t saying that all rules are bad or that we shouldn’t have any standards. But was He perhaps calling out the mindset that those who are constantly complaining about others not living up to their standard but who are not willing to do anything to love them? Jesus love sinners and soldiers, tax collectors and prostitutes. And he didn’t spend his dinners complaining about their flaws.
Positive thinking gets a bad rap in part because of people like Joel Osteen who make Christianity into a self-help joke. But positive thinking people are more enjoyable, more successful, more attractive, and much more of a blessing to be around.
If you happen to be a very conservative Christian who knows the world is destined for hell and your classmate is risking it by wearing that short skirt, stop and think: is this really the best way to live?