A person close to me (by blood) made a joke at my expense. A few years ago, I would have taken it to heart, but lately I've come to realize that people are one thing and do another. This particular person probably didn't mean to hurt me. I truly believe that the true motive wasn't hurting me, but making himself feel better. (And because I am such a sinner, I thought, "Okay, that's my gift to you. Once!" LOL)
Seriously though, the idea of ragging on someone to make yourself feel better stuck in my head. As I thought about it, I also thought about something else (sort of related, maybe not):
When we remember people - say at a funeral - we often don't really say out loud what we really remember about the person. We remember one thing, but say another - something more acceptable.
For instance, at funerals, we often tell only the best things about a person - how generous they were, how kind and caring, etc. We will talk about the good times and the good things, but the whole time, what we are really thinking about are the hurts they caused, their pettiness, the way they cheated or lied or manipulated others. Of course, it would be wrong and disrespectful to the person's loved ones to do anything other than be kind when speaking of them. I guess that goes to the whole don't-speak-ill-of-the-dead and all that...
Here's the thing that came to my mind: I want to remembered as kindly as I will be spoken of. I don't want anyone to have to sugarcoat their words at my passing. If they are going to say that I was generous, then I don't want them - or anyone listening - to be remembering that my generosity had a motive. I don't want anyone speaking or listening to have subtitles going on about me. (In my case, if someone says that I was moody and cranky, I won't mind. That's true. I would like to think I have been "lovably cranky," but... hahaha) I guess I want to try to live so that I will be remembered for being true to my ways - the good and the bad. I don't want to be remembered as someone who tried killing someone's spirit or morale.
We all have faults, but too often, we try to show the world one personality while we are acting out as another. We want praise for things we haven't truly been. We want to be remembered for things we didn't do with our hearts. We should care more about whether or not we were truly faithful or generous or God-fearing than we should about whether people just thought we were.
And the thing is: often we aren't fooling anybody. If we were, all the good things spoken of about us would be true. God will know the truth.
This all makes me think of people who seem tall only because they are using someone else's misery as a stool. People who seem wealthy only in comparison to another person's lack. People who aren't happy with what they've got unless they can show that they have it. These are people who wouldn't be happy in Heaven where joy might be equal. Also, we need to pray for these folks because life here on earth must be - in their hearts - miserable. When I think of people, I wonder about the un-shed tears and the troubling restlessness no one knows about. I think about where I would be without God to touch my own faults and worries. How miserable I would be without His forgiveness, love and comfort. What is it that the Bible says about misery? People with these faults have got to be sadly miserable because of what they lust after for this world and for trying to impress people who cannot save their own souls.
Don't get me wrong - I am not excluding myself. I've craved temporary happiness with the purchase of a purse or piece of clothing. I've lusted after cars and houses and jewelry. Not always because I have wanted the item just because I liked it, but because I wanted what someone else had or didn't have. I wanted - even temporarily - people to look at me and feel a little envy. I think that's a very human weakness and sin. But I am going to ask the Lord to free me from it.
As always, whenever I hold up a mirror to someone's faults, mine become so much clearer. Maybe that's the way God intended it to be. I see a fault in someone else and realize I'm guilty too - and I don't want to be that way anymore.
Just a couple of thoughts I've had. I'm done now. LOL
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