“See, the enemy is puffed up;
his desires are not upright—
but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—
indeed, wine betrays him;
he is arrogant and never at rest.
Because he is as greedy as the grave
and like death is never satisfied,
he gathers to himself all the nations
and takes captive all the peoples.
- Habakkuk 2:4-5
Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.
- 1 Corinthians 4:6
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
- Colossians 2:16-19
making a show of being morally superior to other people.
“what happened to all the sanctimonious talk about putting his family first?”
- Oxford Languages
Did you ever hear the story about the blogger that did not know much but acted like he knew everything? No?! Maybe it was me that they were talking about. Sorry.
I hope you realize that I am joking. I have written on rare occasions that sometimes when I write something about how we can do better in this world, I am pointing more fingers at myself than I am pointing at the audience.
But a week or two ago, I was listening to a podcast by a well-known pastor on the far side of the world and he said that he could not understand the uproar over the guilty verdict of the ex-police officer in Minnesota. It was obvious that he murdered the person they had apprehended. Maybe his presupposed verdict is why he was not selected to be on the jury. After all, people on the jury are supposed to have an “open mind.”
First, the pastor said that he did not understand. We could leave it at that. I was not on the jury and I could not make a statement one way or the other. The video is damning, but the autopsy was unclear and if what the media had reported was said by the medical examiner is correct, the cause of death could have been a variety of things – not helped by the ex-policeman’s actions.
But then, I have a masters of engineering degree and lawyers hate engineers in the jury, because they think things through analytically. Lawyers want people that they can sway by a flowery speech and not people that are so well-tuned to the facts. Did the police officer use excessive force? I think so. Do we want people like that on the police force? Probably not. But I have attended a minicourse on police procedure, evaluating the guard training for a NASA project. The example of a “criminal’s trick” in class was for the person in custody to claim that they could not breathe. It takes air to say that, thus they can breathe. When the policeman loosened the grip, the “criminal” flipped over suddenly, taking the policeman’s weapon away from the policeman. That was the example used to teach the class to not loosen the grip until they could cuff the person. But what do I know? That training was over 30 years ago.
My problem all along was that I know of no one who has not seen that video. So, who could serve on the jury, honestly, without coming into court with some idea of guilt or innocence? It seems everything was tainted. Yet, we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, and the jury came back with the guilty verdict. Unless there is a successful appeal, we need to move on.
I will not use the sanctimonious label on the pastor, however. Ill-informed as to the due process of law in the USA, but not sanctimonious. By the definition, it is kind of hard to be sanctimonious about murder. How can you be puffed up because you have not murdered anyone … lately. The pastor prefaced his remarks with the fact that the case confused him. I would agree, even if I had heard all the evidence, ignored the mob outside the courtroom, ignored the politicians who were inciting the mob, etc.
But what got me to writing this was a video from Arkansas the day before this day of writing. There were monster floods in the South, and in one case, a school bus driver drove through water-covered roads and was washed into the ditch. Do not worry; the driver and the children were rescued. The meteorologist ranted for a couple of minutes about how the only job that that bus driver had was to protect the children as they got them from one point to another. The bus driver should be fired. Rant. Rant. Rant.
This was immediately followed by another video. This one from nearby Texas. The video was taken from a vehicle driving through deep water, about the maximum depth before the vehicle would float away. You could tell that the water was deep as the wake from the moving vehicle was washing over the vehicles that were in the ditch or the lower streets as the vehicle passed. The guy ranting about the bus driver probably paid the other guy for his video, doing the same exact thing that he ranted about.
Meteorologists of that nature have been in similar circumstances. If you live along the Gulf Coast or in Florida, the afternoon rains can cover the roads within a couple of minutes. These meteorologists have driven on water-covered roads. Do not try to convince me they are perfect, but they simply pay, and encourage people, to violate the rules that they themselves create.
Ranting over the bus driver’s stupidity is not only sanctimonious, it is hypocritical. Do I have evidence that the meteorologist drove through water-covered roads? No, but he had been a storm chaser, and he had no more evidence than the video in Minnesota. Had the bus driver swerved into the deeper water to avoid an accident?
That nearly happened to me as a student. I was supposed to start riding the bus on the day that the bus driver drove into a ravine. The bus teetered over the edge. The bus driver told the high school kid and the middle school kid on the bus to slowly move to the back to provide ballast. The driver called for each child by name to crawl to the older kids and out the emergency door in the back. The two older kids refused to jump from the bus until the bus driver unbuckled his seatbelt and crawled to the back himself. Why did the driver wreck his bus? The bus driver had swerved to miss a drunk driver. Some people were like the recent meteorologist, calling for him to be fired, but those that knew the whole story wanted him rewarded as a hero. As for me, I started riding the bus the next day.
Do not be sanctimonious and act like you have never sinned. And do not condemn unless you know all the facts.
All ranting aside, the statistics show that about 100 people die in the USA due to flooding each year and that over half of those are people who get swept away by the flood while in a vehicle. After the meteorologist calmed down, they suggested sensors that would detect a water covered road and shut the bus off – or some other method that prevented the bus from entering the water. That I might agree with. Then again, you drive down the road on a dry day and suddenly, the bus automatically slams on the brakes because there is a puddle left behind from an earlier rainfall. Maybe we need to think this through a little more.
There is a certain degree of reckless bravado in the USA. The discussion on how to totally prevent this or stop that is wearing thin on me. We cannot fix stupid. If our school system worked better than it does, we could fix ignorant, but not stupid.
We have a sin nature. Some people think of themselves as invincible. Stupid things will happen. And sadly the person that was smart enough to film the stupid act instead of participate in it will be the winner by getting his/her video on national television.
Please, I try not to be sanctimonious. I screw up. I cannot be holier than anyone else. God will fix that some day. I have on rare occasions been stupid. Yes, the highly-educated engineer can even do stupid things. Just like a meteorologist can condemn a bus driver for doing something that he has probably done himself. Yep, if someone asked for people to raise their hands if they have ever been stupid, there will be two or three who will not raise their hands. Those two or three are the politicians. Oops, I meant to say “liars” – allegedly.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.