Letters to Jesus (Unhelpful Mindsets and Attitudes)-7
Among the many faults to which I so easily and comfortably succumb is presumption. In my construct of God, love and mercy are what characterize You. Naturally I conclude that God’s goodness, love and mercy are directed at me. I do believe this is true, but the problem is this: I take it for granted that these qualities I attribute to God will override my lack of them.
The narrow borderline between willful choice and utter dependence is walked as a tightrope with the assumption that God is my safety net. If I fall, I’m covered.
Let’s move on. But there’s something a bit askew about this notion. I have a need – even a drive – to know and love God more. To do this I must use words while knowing, nonetheless, that no words can contain God. I come up with words like loving, good, merciful, and just and what I know about these words is how they pertain to humans. I apply this to God because humans that love me, are good to me and are forgiving and kind are the best people I know. They are the people I can rely on. I take who they are for granted and so I presume upon their goodness, love and forgiveness. But there is something askew here too.
The missing piece that blows all this presumption out of the water is that I’m notonly not entitled to such gifts, I’m not even deserving of them – from You or from others!
That notion of “deserving” is a subtle obstacle which is often the quiet voice of spiritual regression in my life. So often, without even thinking about it, I take for granted that I deserve such things. I try to be good, to do well for others, to grow in prayer and in the spiritual life; therefore I deserve some consideration here, God. That way of thinking about You and about other people deludes me.
If I presume upon the goodness of You and of others because I think I am deserving, my “self,” in the very act of such presumption, blocks what I presume upon. The greater, more viable virtue is hope. Hope doesn’t deal with self the way presumption does. Hope is not entangled with deserving.