I was going to write on another temptation tonight, but it felt forced. Instead, I’m going to go where my prayer has convicted me I need the most work.
I pray the Litany of Humility regularly (not often enough. Believe me!). In that litany, there is a powerful line where the leader (or me if I’m praying by myself) says, “From the desire of being consulted.” To which the response is “Deliver me, O Jesus” (I like the version that says ‘O,’ makes me think of Jesus saying the National Anthem at an Orioles Game). I flinch the majority of times I pray those words.
Deliver me from being consulted? What? Why? Wouldn’t it be so great for me to answer all the questions… ever. Wanting to be consulted is like me wanting to evangelize. Right?
Wrong, I need to be delivered from this desire. Please understand, it is good to be consulted and it is good to be able to engage the person seeking counsel from you. What happens, though, is in my desire to be consulted I don’t think about the person asking, but instead about myself as the person answering. I want them to know me as the best darn question answerer this side of the Mississippi. I want them to tell their friends, “Oh, you have a question. You should ask Spencer.” I wish I was kidding! However, the people that know me the best can tell you that when someone comes to me and says, “I have a question for you” I light up like 2-year-old getting ice cream. Yup, I need a little more humility in this area. But, back to the point about neglecting the person asking.
In my desire to knock my answers out of the park I commit one of two heady Christian ‘venial’ sins and one major heady Christian ‘mortal’ sin.
The ‘venial’ sins:
- I assume I know the background behind a question and so answer based on my assumption, which often gives my answer a tone or direction that doesn’t help the inquirer.
- I try to preempt future questions and in turn give an answer that is akin to shoving an essay into a fill in the blank question.
The ‘mortal’ sin:
- I forget that truly good answers must simultaneously communicate Christ to the person. Instead of offering Jesus, I find myself getting so caught up in the presentation of knowledge and the desire to craft the best answer I can that I neglect the invitation to relationship. I pridefully forget that no answer I can ever offer is more substantial, radical, life-changing, peace-giving, revolutionary, or comforting than the Person of Jesus Christ.
From the desire of being consulted… Deliver me, O Jesus.