Earlier this week, after having a few days of stupid people run-ins, I needed a little comic relief and watched a few videos on Youtube – you know, the guy with “the sign” routine. It was wonderful. I literally sat in my office and laughed out loud…yes, my co-workers were gone already. I realize that this man has some raunchy routines, but everything I heard was clean, hilarious, and right on the money. It made me feel as if I had it pretty good when it comes to the stupid people with whom I had interacted all week.
Why is it so easy to be stupid?
Ok…maybe this question is not really worth examining. However, it is so easy for us to see the faults in other people while missing the faults that we have ourselves. On one particular day this past week, I found that pretty much everyone I ran into could have used a sign for their faulty behavior. It seemed endless. Oh that the day would end!
What kind of signs?
Inconsiderate – here’s your sign.
Rude – here’s your sign.
Unfortunate mishap of creation – here’s your sign.
Lacking common sense – here’s your sign.
Apathetic – here’s your sign.
Pathetic – here’s your sign.
The more I saw the signs, the more I started looking for them. Not only that, but I am pretty sure that I saw some signs in people who really would not have had signs if the person before them had not had a sign. Eventually, all I could see that day was the people’s signs…the people sort of faded into the background as I just saw sign after sign. I literally started writing out post-it notes and wanted to hand them through the telephone line or computer screen to people. I must have been a real treat that day. I’m impressed that not a single person has complained to my superior; maybe I put on a good front?
And in the midst of all this sign-assigning, I am pretty sure that I had quite a few signs that people could have given me. Let’s see, there would be inconsiderate, rude, unfortunate mishap of creation, lacking common sense, apathetic, and downright pathetic. The inability to see my own faults heightened as I focused on those of others. In addition, even though I claim to be a rather compassionate person, I lost all compassion – I was just seeing signs. Without seeing the people, I made some cold decisions. I might have even said something to the effect of “you caught me on the wrong day.” Amazing, really. I might as well have said, “You see, I lack the ability to see you as a unique individual because I have clumped you in with someone else.” That is called transference…
What sign should I wear today?
I would like very much to clothe myself in righteousness rather than self-righteousness.
I would like very much to clothe myself in kindness rather than rudeness.
I would like very much to clothe myself in empathy rather than apathy.
I would like very much to recognize that my signs are often negative, that I need to see my own signs, and that I should right my own wrongs before getting all haughty about the wrongs of others.
This past week, the signs that I attributed to others allowed me to ignore my own signs and inflict pain on others. Instead of seeing rudeness in the person, I should have heard their frustration with the broken social service system of their county. Instead of seeing their lack of consideration for my time, I should have heard that they work two jobs in order to house and feed their family. Instead of seeing their apathy, I should have heard that they are overwhelmed as single moms raising kids on their own in a schooling system that is different than what they knew as children.
“Everyone needs compassion, the kindness of a Savior…” (Mighty to Save by Hillsong)