Once upon a time there were two young siblings who spent their days playing with each other happily except for getting into fights every five minutes. Both of them were regularly frustrated to the point of tears …and punches. One day recently, an arbitrating parent halted the violence yet again, and asked for negotiation.
Parent, to Sibling #1 “What would you like him to do?”
Sibling #1, “Stop being so stupid!”
Sibling #2, in a moment of wisdom beyond his years, “How am I supposed to do that?”
I have yet to outgrow completely the bad habit of being frustrated by other people’s “stupidity”. Oh, I wouldn’t say it to their faces, and I struggle and pray to stop thinking it silently.
But still at times, when another driver forgets to signal a turn, or when I read the “Comments” section on a website (now who’s stupid?), or when I hear certain politicians speak, or when a fellow committee member arrives fifteen minutes late to every single meeting and every time apologizes and offers some reason why she’s late this time, or when I watch a parent talking on a cell phone as they drag their precious toddler along by the hand, I may think ugly thoughts. And then there are those inconsiderate pet owners with their unleashed, pooping, barking, trespassing, cute little animal friends. Oh dear.
Thank goodness I don’t hear it when other people lament my own stupidity, although I have seen them using sign language when I’ve made a driving mistake. I scare myself sometimes when I remember that my stupidity likely extends way beyond my own awareness. Maybe there are folks all around me praying for patience with me (maybe?!). After kicking around the theme of this post I found myself wishing that some brave, kind soul would gently tell me about any of my hurtful patterns that I haven’t noticed.
Meanwhile, I’m considering getting this bible verse tattooed somewhere on my body where I might notice it several times a day:
“Don’t judge…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? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7)