I was going to go off on a huge rant today, but I immediately felt a check in my spirit. And so, this is a mini-rant to explain why I felt led to write this blog. It had to do with a tendency I see on social media where people think that comparison is needed when they praise the actions of others. For example, a popular Meme going around social media reads: “We won’t be thanking CEOs and billionaires when this all over, but we’ll be thanking grocery workers, nurses, truck drivers, and janitors for keeping us safe.” I know that there are godly CEOs and wealthy individuals who are offering their expertise at no charge to their governments. They are gathering in think tanks, looking for ways to keep the economy afloat. I know of large corporations who are paying their employees’ salaries even though they are not at work. Before someone protests, yes, I know. There are some greedy individuals out in every economic bracket there. Just look at the empty shelves at your local Walmart.
After feeling my blood boil after seeing that particular Meme being shared a dozen times at least on Facebook and Instagram, I realised that whoever wrote that Meme in the first place was just wanting to thank the first-liners of our day and they said it the best way that they could. Perhaps they didn’t realise that their comment about CEOs and billionaires came across as dismissive. I cannot judge their motivation.
As the days turn into weeks in this crazy COVID-19 world we now live in, our nerves will be frayed and we will clutch our last straws in our sweaty hands. When we face uncertainty, we tend to be sure we are right and ‘they’ are wrong. The quirks of others we once brushed off with a wink and a nod now irritate us as much as a flickering fluorescent light overhead.
What’s the solution? Do we socially isolate ourselves from the world and our families? Do we turn off all social media? Do we become cyber-hermits? Do we post diatribes on Facebook and leave scathing comments when we disagree with a Meme someone posted on Instagram? No. Here’s a hint from Eugene Peterson’s The Message.
Matthew 7:3-5 – “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticise their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbour’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole travelling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbour.”
In other words, “Objects in the Mirror are Closer than They Appear.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about Corrie Ten Boom as of late. In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie openly shared the struggle she faced when her life turned upside down. She found it difficult to cope when a bunch of strangers, who were as equally stressed as she was, suddenly occupy her space. Corrie’s quiet life as a middle-aged woman living with her father, aunts, and sister was gone forever. Tempers flared. Personal space was invaded. The Dutch are beautiful people, but they are the first to admit they can be set in their ways. Corrie knew she would have to learn to extend as much grace to her new housemates’ foibles as God extended toward her. Little did she know that the lessons she learned during those months would give her the skill set to survive filthy, flea-infested barracks in a concentration camp.
Let’s be grateful for the opportunity to examine our hearts when our buttons are pushed by our interactions with others on Social Media and in our homes. If we are particularly irritated by a particular train of thought or the behaviour of an individual, take that irritation as an opportunity to examine your own heart, motivations, and actions. Welcome those irritations and don’t run from them. If you allow him, God will take those irritations and use them to polish the diamond he is creating you to be.
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
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Until Next Week,
©2020 Katherine Walden