Is it the person who takes 47 items through the express lane at WalMart and then stops to choose seven candy bars and two tabloids on top of everything else? Is it the 20-something who cuts you off in traffic? How about the crying baby or the out-of-control toddler at the restaurant?
Is it the relative who still laments decisions they made 57 years ago? The spouse who trims their toenails and leaves them sitting on the arm of the couch? The teenager who doesn't listen to a word you say? The parent who still tries to control you even though you just celebrated your 68th birthday?
Remembering an experience I recently had, could it be the guy sitting next to you on the airplane who apparently had nothing to eat except pinto beans for the last three days?
Is it the senior pastor who keeps pressing you to face the "it" in your life that you run to for solace and comfort instead of to the arms of a loving God? (Just kidding, Chris. You know we all love you, man!)
Come on! What is it that wigs you out? What behavior on the part of others just makes you crazy?
An ongoing part of the Christian journey for me is reminding myself that none of us is perfect. I want to reach the point where I do not see the imperfections in others without also seeing the imperfections in myself. Or better yet where I just see what God calls me to see -- another of His children.
A behavior on the part of others that really drives me nuts is when they change "the plan" at the last second, whatever that "plan" might be. Especially when their change affects me but they don't let me know about it. But then I think of the times when I have done that to others. And I start to understand that, even though the other person's gift for planning may not be the greatest, my negative reaction to their change in "the plan" is really because I have an issue with feeling out of control. It is not their imperfection that's really a problem -- it's mine. The more I realize that, the less wigged out I become and the closer I can get to where God wants me to be.
Jesus commanded us to love one another -- his greatest commandment in fact. How can I do that if all I see are the imperfections in others? What if all I see is this wall that I have built between them and me? What if my eyes are those of scorn, contempt, and prejudice instead of love, compassion, and grace? Can I really be the face of Jesus in those cases?
This change to not seeing others' imperfections without also remembering your own is a key part of the Christian transformation, I believe. And, for me, it's not an easy one. I struggle with it day in and day out. As I journey on, I learn that I have a long way to go in order to consistently live out unconditional love for others. But try I must because they were created by God the same as me.
This sort of transformation is something that I see alive and well at Sidney First. You see it in the way that way that we relate to one another and love one another. But I know that I need to remind myself of the necessity to always carry His love outside the walls of the church too. It can be relatively easy to live out our faith when we're surrounded by it. But things change when we're on the "outside" and that person cuts us off in traffic. Or our well-pedicured but sloppy spouse leaves their toenail clippings on the couch (I am not talking from personal experience, mind you!) Or Mr. Pinto Bean sits next to us on the airplane. Or our regret-filled Aunt Eunice relates her stories for the 43rd time ... that day. Those are the times that test our transformation in Christ.
Jesus reminded us that none of us is without sin. We all carry imperfections and we all make mistakes. Yet He loves us just the same ... exactly as He commanded us to love one another fully because of who we are in Him. I need to live true to that commandment. It can't be done with a cold or suspicious heart though. It can only be done when we allow God's love and grace .. both so freely given to us ... to flow through us and pass on to others.
What is it that really wigs you out? How can you allow God to change that?