How would you feel if you saw a man accidentally spill a glass of water in a crowded restaurant and his wife turn to him and explode: "You are an absolute idiot!
How would you feel if you saw a man accidentally spill a glass of water in a crowded restaurant and his wife turn to him and explode: "You are an absolute idiot!" Now, same exact scenario, only this time you are the man in front of that crowded restaurant being called "an absolute idiot!" Now how do you feel?
For most people the first scenario seems bad, but the second much worse. It is embarrassing, offensive and angering beyond words. But why? Is it not the same offense? Are they not equally as bad? Equally wrong? So why the difference in response and feeling? It is because we have an unreasonable and disproportionate emotional attachment to ourselves compared to that for others. Think about it.
Why should you be more offended when you are disrespected than when someone else is? Satan has distorted our view of ourselves to the extent that we elevate ourselves above others? Consider these scriptures:
1. Philippians 2:3
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
2. Matthew 22:39
And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
These are cornerstones of our faith and yet we fail to give them due weight and respect. We are commanded not only to empathize with this man but to feel indignation and embarassment as if this were us and not him. We are to consider him better than ourselves, deserving more respect than we do! Our distorted view of self and others can be summed up in one word: PRIDE.
In CR it is said "When pride goes up sobriety goes down", this is very much in keeping with Proverbs 16:18 which reads: "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." This being true then we need to pay very close attention to a cure for pride and a preserver of our sobriety.
On the one hand the cure requires Empathy and seeing others in the light we often see ourselves: the best light possible where the benefit of the doubt reigns. On the other hand the cure involves practicing self-control in our emotions. We must strive to remove ourselves from the equation as much as possible and not take things personally.
That guy who cut you off would have cut anyone off in that situation. That salesperson would have been rude to anyone, not just you. That brother or sister would have given anyone that rude response given that situation. Use your head more than your heart! The world, under the influence of Satan, puts a premium on following your emotions instead of using your head. For this reason even the Christian finds it hard to rationally think about issues pertaining to personal matters, spiritual matters, matters of their faith, matters of politics and matters of the world. This is a difficult concept to embrace but we must grasp it firmly: we have an unhealthy self-attachment! More scriptures to consider:
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.
Stop seeing yourself as the world and Satan want you to and start seeing yourself as God would have you. In this way you will save yourself and others.