I used to love to hate. I never tried heroin, but I bet they are related, hate and heroin. There is a certain rush about the simplicity of right vs. wrong. You don’t have to hold back. Just let loose with precision fault finding, or maybe generous advice giving. Poking and pushing… ahh, what a rush!
Jesus says its a bad idea, though. Our root relational problems turn out not to be in the how other people have bad or lack good. The plank in our own eye is not just any bad on our part, it is the presumption of being a Lord over another. That’s more than a speck, that is treasonous behavior for someone claiming that Jesus is Lord.
If I want to experience God in charge, here and now (the Kingdom of God at hand) then I absolutely must abdicate my throne of superiority. The problem with doing that is I am in alliances with other little lords of condemnation and unsolicited advice. My network of relationships are often forged on mutual condemnation of ‘bad’ people, and mutual bumper sticker slogans of advice to help people be ‘good’ people. Simplicity is a addictive; and wrong.
The essence of the advice to stop poking and pushing is that it cycles into a world of poking, pushing people. That is not what was intended. That is essentially not yet perfected, not yet telosed, violence of the type that was the reason beyond the judgment in Noah’s day. God repented, thought again, about the wisdom of creating people. They are too often too mean.
But I need to relate to others. So what do I do? The advice is to ASK. Asking, seeking, knocking is pursuing real understanding and connection. It is not as simple as poking and pushing. It is a bit more involved and dynamic and rich. It is more like the God who is Triune. The giving and receiving of appropriate love is like a dance. It understand that unity is not the same as uniformity. That diversity is not the same as isolation. We are created in God’s image to grow in who we are while others grow in who they are. Such dynamic beings (people) must be treated with attentive forms of requests for understanding. That is the same way we are to relate to God. We ASK. We don’t demand miracles, and words of knowledge on material blessing and all the other stuff. We grow up and ask God. He is good, and the world is not simple, and we often struggle to understand. So we seek understanding, and we persist. That is how relating works.
So don’t be part of a world of poking pushers. Relate to people the way you want them to relate to you. Ask, seek, knock… relate graciously.