Oh, I bet any mother in the world would say that little hissy fit I threw in my mind was completely justified. We all know how hard it is to get rowdy four year olds tucked in, snuggled up, and asleep. The defeat of Lydia coming down the stairs just added to my own frustration about my inability to sit on my porch and enjoy the clouds rolling in and enjoy the quiet of dusk.
However, as I reflected on my own thoughts and my attitudes, I couldn't help but realize that my attitude was not gracious. It was bad. It was filled with hasty judgments and not a lot of compassion for my neighbor.
God began to challenge me to think outside of my "Sarah box of Quick Judgement" and deep dig into my "Benefit of the Doubt Bag."
And to be quite honest, I had some fun! Let really think about why in the world someone would choose to begin to mow their lawn at 8:45...
- You know, it was really hot today. Maybe they needed to wait until the sun set to beat the heat.
- Maybe the neighbor had to work odd hours today.
- Perhaps they were waiting for a family member to fix the lawnmower or get gas for it before they could begin.
- Maybe they saw the rain clouds rolling in and figured they better get to the mowing before it rained.
Whatever the reason, I knew I had to drop the bad attitude. Maybe, just maybe they were mowing that late just so the Lord could teach me a lesson.
And really, I guess I should just be thankful that the neighbor was mowing their lawn in the first place...since that can be an issue for that particular household. :)
As I'm learning these lessons, my heart rolls back to a sweet friend who is feeling judged. To me, it makes no sense at all why everyone in the world would not just adore her like I do! (It's not like she mows the lawn late and keeps her neighbors' kids awake!) She's kind. Compassionate. Generous. Redeemed. Flawed? Yes. But, then again, my own flaws are pretty obvious to anyone who knows me by name. Well, actually, my flaws are pretty obvious, even if you don't know my name. One glance at me, and you see one of my "biggest flaws." And, I'm pretty sure most of us would agree we fall pretty short of any standards we wish we lived up to. Oh, how I wish I could mend her broken heart myself...but I can't. So, instead, I will use her pain and the lessons I'm learning tonight to continually check myself, my attitudes, and my judgments It's easy for me to say I'm not a judgmental person (and by comparison, I'm probably not), but I still have those moments. How about you? Are there moments like that in your life? Is there room for improvement with your attitude towards others as well? I can only hope we can embark on this journey together! Together, we can shed some hopeful light instead of dark judgement.
I'm thankful for a God who has given me a second chance. I'm so relieved that God is teaching me even more about giving others the benefit of the doubt. And, I'm hopeful that sometime soon, my friend will experience acceptance, not judgement. I'm praying that she will see the green light to be herself, and to experience life in the fullness of God's grace.
Let's let our lights shine, friends. Starting from the inside out, taking our cue from the Lord and not the world.