I saw a quote written from a guy I know, and it was a great quote and he probably really meant it.
I wanted to be gracious here, but — this thing he was telling everyone else to do is the very opposite of how he really is. He knew the exact right words to phrase it, the keywords to tug the heartstrings, that slightly aggressive tone to preach to the choir, the vivid imagery and active verbs to pull it off.
It felt so icky. This was the paragon of a pot calling a kettle black.
If he had said it any other way, with any kind of nuance or self-awareness or humility: it would’ve made sense. He’s not a bad person or anything, and there is value in hearing from someone who is still overcoming their own issues. But this wasn’t that kind of honesty. It was all finger-pointing, just abrasive and hollow and laughable. It’s the sort of thing that instantly makes you say, “Well-what-bout-chu?”
Come to think of it, I’ve probably done this many times. I’ve preached what I haven’t been practicing. I’ve told people to do what I wasn’t doing myself first. I do think all of us can teach others without being perfect, but there’s a way to do that which can make us relatable or make us jerks.
Of course, we’re all in progress. We have blind spots. We will never arrive to perfection. Yet I wished he had quoted someone else, or was less uppity, or maybe added, “And I’m working on it too.”
I could only guess: he doesn’t know it’s his own problem. He just knows it’s a problem in other people. This is the part that makes me sick to my stomach with grief. I don’t know how to approach someone like this because it’s too much work, too stressful, and not very worth it. I just thank God that I have friends who are smarter than me and are not afraid to rebuke me in the face.
Maybe we could just write the stuff we really feel instead of preaching pretty ideals all the time. It won’t kill you to be honest about your struggle. We don’t need another soap-box; we need knee-deep stories of hope and heartache and grace.
We can admit: we’re all trying to get it right.
We don’t need to talk from a pedestal.
God have mercy on our hypocrisy and grace for our every spoken word.
“Here is an exercise: Quote only those words that you are willing to do today. If we can’t act on what we quote, what is the actual value of it?
“Expecting others to do it and not ourselves is just arrogance and self-centeredness. Find a struggle and persist in it. Then be willing to change. Wouldn’t you like these words to have meaning for generations after us? I would. So let’s not hollow them out with our laziness.”
— Drew Tatusko