Sunday, May 18, 2014

Excuse Me--Your Underwear is Showing

There is someone in my life right now who very much reminds me of myself fifteen years ago.  And fifteen years ago I would have treated this person with contempt, been hostile, unforgiving--even actively sought to punish this person for their "offenses" against me.

Having a good idea of what was going on beneath the surface created a buffer that allowed me to not take personally any perceived negativity.  Rather than feeling hostile toward this person I feel badly for them and pray that they find a quick resolution for whatever it is that ails them.  It has been via this avenue of godliness that God has begun to work a healing.

I got to thinking this morning about the oft used proverb "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." which comes from Matthew 7:12.

I usually think about that concept in terms of being at someone's mercy under circumstances out of my control.  For example, if I left my key inside the lock of my front door, I would hope a neighbor would take a second to get it and safely return it to me.  Or if I unknowingly tucked my skirt into my underwear in a public restroom, I would hope someone would tell me.  This line of thinking drives me to do for others, for I know how vulnerable I feel in those moments.

But, this process of meeting a mirror image of my past self has turned that concept inside out.  I took a second look at that commandment and saw, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you--when you are at your worst, when you are growling and snarling in fear, when you are pushing away but desperately want to be taken in, when the ugly flaws you haven't gotten around to fixing are on full display."

That kind of doing for others requires digging a bit deeper.  It requires a selflessness--a compassion.  I still haven't achieved that level of doing unto others because in my case I was simply seeing myself, having pity on myself, and showing grace to myself.

This has given me pause to be ready to do unto others when I don't stand to gain a thing.  I want to be ready to be gracious toward someone whose faults I do not remotely understand.  For that's really what that verse is all about.  Extending grace without understanding, with no strings attached, simply because that is what we are called upon by Christ to do.

And then the extreme irony of the whole situation smacked me upside my head.  'We' talk so much about the stigma of mental illness and wanting to be understood and accepted.  I of all people should know about extending grace and treating the misunderstood in a way that I would want to be treated.

It's funny how even a proverb about treating others well can get twisted into something so self serving and there we were thinking we were oh so pious when we return a neighbor's forgotten keys or whisper to the woman in Walmart, "Excuse me, ma'am.  Your skirt is tucked into your underwear."

Lawdamercy, it's been a long weekend of solo parenting.  So, won't you Holla Back!! in the comments, "Orange is not your color!" *orange being the color of a prison jumpsuit:)

All my crazy crazy love.........