Smugness is defined as exhibiting or feeling great or offensive satisfaction with oneself or with one’s situation; self-righteously complacent.
How do each of us personally stand up beside this definition? Aren’t we all, at one time or another, smug? I know I have been, and I’m not proud of it.
More important, in what ways do we bring our gavel of smugness on others?
Well, when we consistently and pompously think we’re right and they’re wrong–we’re bringing down the gavel of smugness.
When we look at another person as being below us in intelligence, talent, beauty, etc.–we’re bringing down the gavel of smugness.
When we don’t understand why others don’t do things our way, and don’t bother to understand their way—we’re bringing down the gavel of smugness.
When we are overly critical, pig-headed, stubborn, and complacent. (And we might be hypocrites, too, because as individuals, we are often critical, pig-headed, stubborn, and complacent, as well)—yet still, we bring down that old gavel of smugness.
Smugness can be found in religion, too.
“The operation of the church is entirely set up for the sake of the sinner, which creates much misunderstanding among the smug.”– Flannery O’Connor
For the sake of the sinner, Jesus Christ died, rose, and offers eternal life. Yet we often point to sin in others (the sinners) and are too arrogant to see it in ourselves–because we are–what? The sin-less?
No, we are all sinners. How can we think that we are so far above others that we can judge them? Only God can weigh an individual’s sin. Because only God knows the absolute truth about any of us.
So, let’s strip away our smugness. Let’s not be so serious about ourselves, loosen up, and laugh a little.
Let’s remember that we are created in the image and likeness of God. But we are not God. And God, alone, knows what’s beneath that coat of smugness we sometimes wear.
Copyright 2014, Kaye Hinckley
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