Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Golden Calf of My Own

Today in The Story Aaron makes a clumsy attempt to deflect blame! That’s right, the brother of Moses, the mouthpiece of the exodus, the first priest of Israel... well, he did something stupid and acted like it wasn’t his fault. 

"They gave me the gold, and I threw it into
the fire, and out came this calf!"
What happened was, Moses went up on the mountain to confab with God and was gone for a while. The people got restless and convinced Aaron to make an idol for them to worship – a golden calf. The people go to town worshipping that bovine abomination of a statue and when Moses interrupts their little party, Aaron says, “They gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”

Um... It sounds crazy, I know, but I know EXACTLY where the dude was coming from. See, he knew he had blown it, but was ashamed and really bummed that he had disappointed his brother. 

The invention of the blame game
A very similar thing happened in the Garden of Eden when God asked Adam if he had eaten the fruit he wasn’t supposed to eat. And Adam said, “The woman YOU put here with me gave it to me.” And Eve said, “The snake made me do it.” Ah, the blame game... Well, we all know how THAT story ends... 

When I was a kid, I had a streak of mischief a mile long and three miles wide. I did a lot of sneaky, downright impish things. I won’t go into detail... mostly because I don’t remember specifics, but if I did, I would probably be too embarrassed to put it out there for all the world to read. I bring it up because my default was to lie my way out of whatever mess I had made for myself. 

Looks like an angel.
Acts like an imp.
I did this for the simple reason that I didn’t want anyone to get mad at me. I’ve always been about pleasing people. Not disappointing them. Just like Aaron. And Adam and Eve. Only their audience was God. Displeasing God... that’s always a grim prospect. I, on the other hand, am playing to the audence of... you guys. I’m guessing that God’s invisibility keeps me from worrying overmuch about His disapproval. Plus, if I constantly worried about that, I go nuts... because of the sheer magnitude of my imperfection!

Anyway, it took me a while of living this crazy life of mine to build up even the smallest amount of character... enough to be able to say when necessary, “Yes, I did something wrong. Yes, this is completely my fault.” And even now I am sometimes tempted to just sort of breeze past the truth in an effort to make fewer waves. It's also tempting to tell the truth, but only after I've figured out how to spin it ao I won’t look so bad. You see, approval can be MY own personal golden calf.

Here’s what happened just yesterday... As you may be aware, I fight a constant battle with the ├╝ber mess that is our house. It’s a mess, and I don’t have time to do anything about it. So I did the next logical thing: I called a cleaning service. They sent someone, and she did a bang-up job. Ahhhh... sweet relief. 

What I did next was not so logical: I let my husband think I cleaned the house myself. Because I was ashamed. Embarrassed. I didn’t want to disappoint him. But then I felt so bad about the deceit that I had to call him at work and come clean. Maybe that’s progress, I don’t know...? I’m glad he just laughed when I told him. You know how I hate disapproval... Of course, if I were REALLY about earning approval, I wouldn’t do iffy things to begin with, right? 

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