Originally published Friday, 28 October 2016.
Some people live like sandpaper under the skin. Ever noticed? They keep on rubbing and rubbing against you until your inflamed and sore. Usually, I try to smile and keep good cheer, but of late, I've secretly wanted to knock these people down. I've wanted to peg 'em like little clown heads at a carnival. Boom! The ball bangs 'em and their taunting faces fall.
"Bahaha!" I'd laugh with an evil, cackling tone. "I'll knock you all down..."
First I'd hit clown #1: This high-flying lady is consumed with sharing all her bragadocious mommy wins. All. The. Time. She tosses them out like Louis Vuitton bags, like showy diamonds or personal victories of her amazingness. My kid? He is reading already. My strategy? They go straight down to bed. My success? All my friends are asking me how I do it. (I bet they are, lady!)
I'm convinced, she wants me to:
- Worship at her feet.
- Wildy applause her grand strategies.
Hail her as reigning queen.
I just want to peg her.
Then I'd hit clown #2: The I-am-right-all-the-time and can do no wrong person.
This person speaks and is 100% right. There's no changing views. No talking about other options. No going a different path. This person speaks, you best listen.
There's nothing else to say. He's like a splinter, digging deeper every time he talks.
What would happen if I hurt him as much as he hurt me?
Clown #3: This girl she is your best friend until someone better comes along, then she trashes you like old milk. You feel sour. Apparently, she's far more concerned about looking good, getting in with the right people and moving to a different social stratosphere. Underneath your I'm-as-cool-as-a-cucumber persona, you want to sling cuss words, but you're Christian, so you don't. Instead, you think, "She is selfish and self-seeking. Hmph!"
You think about pegging her too.
What person is an irritant, so abrasive,
you want to push them down?
Is this person pushing Jesus right out of you?
Well, perhaps, the trick's on us!!! All along, we thought they were the clowns, the ones hiding behind a facade, but what if it was actually us? Let's take a look:
Let's consider, Clown #1:
My makeup-face: If I admit it, I am a bit jealous of this super-momma. I also may not act exactly the same as her, but I long to be seen.
Her truth: She likely feels insecure and unsure about what she is doing. She likely needs the praise of fellow-woman to feel good about herself. Or, she needs constant fuel to keep sustaining herself. She needs a good word to keep going. I can relate to that a little.
My makeup-face: I am not patient. I want to be acknowledged, valued and loved (kind of reminds me of clown #1). I want to be heard.
His truth: He is excited to share. He wants to be valued. He wants to be seen as wise. He is looking to connect not hurt me.
My make-up face: Sometimes I hope people will help me.
Her truth: She's been abandoned by people in her past and is looking to be accepted today. Her heart needs love, unconditional love.
What I use to knock others down,
really only knocks me down.
What I hate in others, usually is found
somewhere in the trenches - of me.
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye
and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Mt. 7:3
3 Clowns. 3 Irritants. 3 Shadows of Myself.
3 people I run from.
Because I hate their little blown-up balloons of whatever - comparison, pride, people pleasing. It feels good to blame them for bad form, rather than seeing my own form pop and burst before me. Yet, when I really look, really consider, I am just as flawed, just as broken, just as needy - and I can't shape a darn elephant or a dog if my life depended on it.
Aren't we all just trying to get past the past? Aren't we all just trying to fill the gaps of pain that existed? Aren't we all in need of love, a helping hand and a person who understands that we aren't perfect - but, still, stays with us?
In so many ways, when I love them, I am loving me.
In so many ways, when I show kindness to them, I am welcoming Jesus' kindness to my own heart.
In so many ways, when I give them grace, I am learning what grace really is.
5 Ways to Build up People, Instead of Knocking them Over (GRACE):
Get to the heart of the matter. Ask, "How is their heart feeling?"
Respect the idea that our hard roads give us all hard edges.
Accept that you can't change them, but you can change how you react to them.
Come to the Lord. Ask him for how to best approach them with love.
Evaluate your own heart to see where your sin might reside.