Deceit and Appearances7:30 AM
I love big, loud family games. Pit. Dutch Blitz. Cranium Cadoo. Especially if it involves laughing. The latter especially lends itself to that sort of entertainment. And in one of its numerous challenge cards, a player must identify what in the world is the object in the picture. One hitch: it's a zoomed in shot that turns toothbrushes into little pinheads and pinheads into alien attack ships - like the head-scratcher above. (Tell me, truly: What do you think it is? Winner takes all!)
I can't help but think that I have taken rather the same approach to juding other people's lives. I people-watch at Wal-Mart. The rewards are diversive and diverting: Girls texting and walking around in almost nothing. Grandmothers looking anything by grandmotherly. Gangster-type guys who lost their belts. Then I smugly think how nice and collected I am in my skirts and blouses, happy with my baby brother, electronically free and zipping along at a nice pace, holy, pious and so very Christian.
People with convictions have a very strange tendency to slap their convictions on to other people for no other reason than "that's what I do" - never mind that circumstances and convictions have shaped other people in different ways. Am I saying convictions are bad? That all things are relative? That we should walk around with our pants hanging low? No. I mean to say that sketching the WANTED profile of another person based on one glimpse of their life - through manners, clothes, activities - is neither Christ-like nor accurate.
I think of all the times I could be mistaken for something I'm not. Once I went to VBS with a French manicure done to my fingernails. Now some prig could say, "Oh - typical teen, concerned with her nails and all that stuff." Or they could stop and say, "Your nails are pretty" and I could sigh and answer, "I don't go for this kind of stuff, normally. I only did it because my sisters, aunt and cousins were having a spa night."
I wear culottes instead of jeans to help out with therapeutic riding. Of course, a liberated person could pity me and think I'm trapped in tradition and am self-righteous and all that. Until I tell them that wearing skirts is not a prerequisite to salvation, that I bike in capris and that I form my own convictions, thank you.
Once I wore a shirt that was a little too tight and little too low. Change that to "more than a little." Anybody could have coughed politely behind my back and thought, "I wish girls these days would dress more modestly." I could have related to them how much I wanted to stuff the shirt deep in my closet when I got home and hide in my pillow to ward off impending fire and brimstone.
I have done stupid stuff before and I doubt not that I will do them again. I have sinned. But I am, I beg of you, neither a liberal, immodest pseudo-christian nor a conservative, brainless old-maid-in-the-making. I'm me, with my faults and my journey ahead of me.
By the way, I take full responsibility for dressing immodestly and things like that. But don't harp on it behind my back - my remorse and embarrassment typically lasts several days, at least.
I know I have done this countless times to the varieties in the Mart. That girl texting? What a waste of time. Never mind that she might dislike it, that she might be trying to get rid of someone texting to her, that she needed to text something quick and necessary to her mother. That mother snapping at her two-year-old? What a terrible woman. Mothers these days just don't appreciate their children (like I do). Let's not consider that she might be a very good mother on all other days except when the two-year-old is howling about chips throughout the shopping trip. That guy dragging his pants on the ground? Rebel. Teen. Yuck. But did I stop to consider his dad probably does the same? That he pins his manhood on how low he can go? That he never had any teaching or role model to show him that he can be just as cool and manly with a belt cinched around his waist?
Did I stop once to pray for them, that they may know Christ? That they may find more useful things to do, that they would find peace, that they would find belts? Did I consider their souls instead of their outward appearance?
Or am I so consumed with my self-righteousness that I cannot smile at them, wish them a good day and think anything but, "Thank you, Lord, for making me more righteous than that sinner over there"?
God knows the whole, inside and out. We get the very narrow, zoomed in, confusing picture. I pledge to be more understanding, lest my ignorance betray me. How about you?