Lately, my kids have taken to doing extra chores to earn money for Christmas shopping.
The floor is "vacuumed," the bathrooms are "cleaned," the laundry is "folded,"... the quotation marks should give you some idea of the quality of the work being done by kids who are just eager to get the nasty stuff over with.
But I'm a perfectionist, especially in some areas of cleaning. So, messes on the floor, even after the work is done drive me crazy. But do I do anything about it?
My supporters, fans and loved ones cheer me on, with fists in the air shouting, "She's such a great mom! Look how patient she is while training her children how to survive in life!"
The critical ones whisper behind their hands to one another, "Really. She's so lazy, she'll live in filth and let her children think they are just fine."
The truth? Can you handle it?
The truth is... I'm just tired.
Again, the critics will find their cause to complain. "Tired? Tired from what? Sitting around on the computer all day?"
While the supporters will sympathize, "Oh poor thing. Of course she's tired. Look at all she does!"
The bottom line is this. People are going to think what they want to think. We can't do anything about them. But we CAN do something about ourselves and the way we think.
You don't need to be a supporter (if it means you are being an enabler) or a critic. Just see things how they are. Too often we assign motives to others when in actuality, that motive may never have even crossed the person's mind.
It happens a lot in children. "Look at that person smoking. He must have such an awful life that he wants to kill all of us."
I'm not a proponent of smoking, but I can bet that at least 99% of smokers don't do it to get revenge on the world with second hand smoke.
Of course, we as adults don't make such assumptions. Or do we? Has this ever been you...?
"Look at her get in the express line with more than 10 items. Who does she think she is that she doesn't have to wait like the rest of us?"
When in actuality, said person probably just didn't notice it was an express line. (Come on now, haven't you been that person too?)
But it can go the other way too. We can lift people up for their deeds, when again, the person never gave it a second thought.
"What a saint. She goes to church every week."
Admittedly, the latter seems much less dangerous. Except in the Christian world, where we will give man credit in God's place.
"See how the people in that church are feeding the hungry?"
The people are? Or God has made a way?
And then there is blind admission.
"I know my friend likes to shop. And her husband has trouble making enough money to pay the bills. But she's a smart cookie. She won't spend more than she has. One cup of coffee won't hurt."
That last example might have a touch of laziness or selfishness added to it as well, but probably a good amount of our enabling stems from believing the best out of mankind. Problem there is that man wasn't built to live up to expectations 100% of the time. Only God can do that.
Where does that leave us? In silence? Don't say anything to anyone, because you will be wrong, right?
No, here is what I am saying. Before you make a judgment about a person's motives, see if you have been there before. Sometimes there just aren't any motives!
Sometimes the glass is half empty, and sometimes is it half full. But most of the time, it just has some water in it that a thirsty person wants to drink.
Passion Under Grace,