When I (Spiritually) "Should" People
Shoulding, as I wrote last week, is a deadly exercise for both shoulder (Shooder) and shouldee. The attitude of should is rarely satisfied. And in terms of my own progress in writing, music, faith, anything really, it has done me no good. When it comes to faith, should gains strength. When someone shoulds on us, or we should on ourselves, or we should on others in matters of faith, we are tying God (or rather a variation of God) to the end of a chain we've fettered on the shouldee's ankle before throwing them in the river mobster style.
Don't mistake this for a lets play nice sentimentalism. Jesus said challenging things like I actually want you to love your actual enemies. But the more I mature the more I see these items less as shoulds and more as wills. What I mean is this: Jesus, being the archetype for humanity, was/is what we were meant to be like, and the image God is re-making us into. Just like the Bible lists fruits of the Spirit saying what we will see coming out of us if we are jiving with God rather than what we should be like in order to jive with Him.
But we hum haw at our silly attempts that never seem to line up with, or even come close to, the ideal, let alone the chump in the pew next to us. And when the chump gives us the stink eye, instead of "I am dissapointed in you. You should really do better", what we actually hear is that God is sitting on a cloud stuffed La-z-Boy watching Big Brother: Planet Earth, crossing his arms and shaking His head, as if He didn't know about our mediocre passion when He started wooing us.
But this is the real problem with should. For those who really do want to give something back to God out of gratitude, God is much more patient with progress than we are. Omnipotence aside, if the several thousand years of recorded history we have are any indication, God probably lowered his expectations for humanity a long time ago.
And so I'm learning (in summary of a Brennan Manning quote that I know exists but have been unable to find again) to stop trying to figure out where I should be and rather just accept wherever I or those around me are, which is something to be thankful for when you stop and think about it.
But here we are moping around about our myriad of shortcomings rather than simply being grateful for all the little miracles God has performed in making us even an ounce more like Jesus.
Ergo, shoulding is ungratefulness.
Ergo, you should probably cut it out.