Mango-ology — September 14, 2011

12 23 OBOE THEME

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I basically refuse to buy one if they’re over a dollar.  I think I have purchased a particularly large specimen at $1.25.  But when they get down to eighty-eight cents or so I like to pick myself up a mango

Tricky business, though.  Because in the case of an orange, you can be pretty confident of a good product–if it’s orange.  And bananas are pretty obvious, too, with their skin color.  (Please don’t call me a bigot…)

Mangos are fussy.  Usually when you see them in the grocery store, they’re rock hard and not good for much of anything but practice at a softball tournament.  No–you have to have the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job.  You have to be willing to buy one of these little fellers, take him or her home, set it on the shelf and let it quietly do its maturing without your scrutiny.  Because if you come over and cut into it too soon, you’re gonna have a sour, hard mess.  If you get a bit over-anxious and go around squeezing it, you can bruise it, which will put brown spots on your otherwise delightfully golden and delicious treat.

It is a spiritual experience, to take custody of a mango.  Actually, about the time you forget you have one, you look over there and say, “Oh, my goodness, that thing must be rotten by now.”  But no–it’s just ready to be peeled and eaten.  You are rewarded for your patience and blessed by your forgetfulness.

You know, people are a lot like fruit.  (Please don’t read into that statement…) Some solid individuals are just downright “good apples”–it’s hard to lose, trustworthy and ready for you to take a good bite out of–even a second bite.  There are those folks, of course, who are sour grapes.  They don’t warn you of the bitterness and nastiness of their taste by the outer appearance, and you do rather regret partaking of them. 

But lots of people–especially younger humans–are like mangos.  You just have to buy into one and commit to it, keep your hands off of it a little bit, and let it sit on the shelf and soften up by natural processes.  If you don’t, you’ll expect too much too soon or you’ll handle it too roughly and end up leaving behind a few sore spots of your own making. 

It took me a while to learn this.  I’m not so sure I didn’t do a little damage as a human being, or even as a parent, in the process.  To all my fruity brethren and children, I apologize.

Because mango-ology involves understanding that some of God’s creations just need more time to get to a point so that they’re palatable.  You worrying about them, fussing over them, handling them or staring at them will not improve the situation.  Find a nice shelf where the sunshine can hit them just right and let them mature on their own. After all, you’re not a mango.  And if you are a mango, chances are you can’t sweeten one of your friends anyway. That takes time,  God and nature.

So for future consideration, when you run across some human being who just doesn’t ever seem to ripen up, have the wisdom to use mango-ology: give’em a perch and let’em learn on their own, so the next time you visit them, it will be a sweet and tasty reunion.

They Dare — September 12, 2011

They Dare (1,267)

I’m going to take the risk.

I spent a delightful morning in Perry Hall, Maryland, enjoying the human beings that came before me and stood with me on September 11th, 2011. Such fine people. I am enriched beyond words to be in the presence of God’s good folk.

I met a minister who quietly goes about the business of loving people and maintaining a vision for his congregation. He has quite a background. He was a missionary for many years in the Caribbean and also in Africa. So many stories he can tell us. But yesterday was not a time for us to share our personal potential, but instead, commemorate the horrific loss on September 11th, 2001.

Here’s the risk I’m going to take: America stinks at commemorating. We have no idea how to turn an event of such tragedy into a celebration of human life. I’ll give you a clue—it doesn’t revolve around showing one more ash-covered person escaping from a collapsing building. Matter of fact, promise to do me a favor—ten years after I die, would you please swear not to sit around and discuss how I died, how horrible it was and how brave I was during the process? Would you please have a great conversation about my life, my dreams, my fulfillments and my legacy?

Because all of the discussions of the weekend—all of the news broadcasts, in my opinion, just served to produce the frustrated, self-righteous attitude of, “How dare they?” How dare these terrorists come and attack our country? How dare they destroy human lives? How dare they intrude upon our way of thinking and believing?

They dare.

And they will again—because they err. Yes. They dare because they err.

They have taken three portions of life that are precious and glorious when balanced and have turned them into a war cry instead of a gift from God. Country, God and family. They’re over-zealous about their national status, their upbringing and religion tells them they are a “chosen” race with a mission to save the world through their particular brand of “Godism.” And when it comes to God, they are convinced He is a wrathful blaze of anger, ready to extinguish the heathen into a vapor. And they only see family as being those who are linked to them through genetics, culture and proximity.

Yes, these are the three things that make people crazy—too much patriotism, a belief that God hates some people and loves others and that your family is limited to those who gather around your table for the holidays.

While we decry the actions of these pathetic madmen, we must be careful that we do not allow ourselves to become just as single-minded in these areas, and therefore in our own way, just as dangerous.

How did Jesus address these issues? He made it clear that he was not part of a provincial thinking, but rather, embraced the entire world. When the people around him wanted to lock him into a Jewish family in Nazareth, he refused to go back home, but instead, gestured to the people in the room with him and said, “Anyone who does the will of my Father is my mother, my sister and my brother.”

When he was rejected by his own countrymen, he said, “A prophet has no honor in his own country—amongst his own kin.”

And when dealing with the severe nationalism of the Jewish race, he told the leaders that “God was able to make children of Abraham from the stones.”

And finally, he made it clear that we should be careful not to expect a warm greeting from God if we treat those around us who are considered the “least” with disrespect and dishonor.

I was not pleased with how America handled this anniversary. However, there were some bright moments—honoring the courage of those on Flight 93, who gave their lives to save an unknown target in Washington, D.C., was moving. When they focused in on individual people, their stories and dreams, I was touched. When Mayor Bloomberg said that the tragedy had brought about thousands people moving into New York and turning it into a more family-environment rather than merely a habitat for Wall Street, I was astounded at the image. When I realized that because of the efforts of firemen, policemen and first responders, nearly 25,000 people were saved from the destruction, I was moved to tears.

Every commemoration must end in a celebration of human life or we merely confirm that we’re victims and we develop that arrogant notion, “How dare they?”

They dare because they believe their country is supreme, their God is mean, and their family is small. Let us not make the same mistake.

So I thank each and every one of you for your ongoing miracle of living out your heart and soul. I am glad to be on the planet with you at this time. And I am grateful that we, as Americans, can overcome our feelings of self-importance and realize that our country is part of a world which exists as a tiny spot in a universe created by a God who loves and grants mercy and wisdom to those who care—and teaches us to enjoy our personal families, as we extend that same tenderness to the entire family of man.

God bless America.

Yes. God bless America as we continue to bless others.

Just This One Time

Just This One Time . . . (1,263)

September 8, 2011

Even though I had the privilege of being a parent to seven sons—four of my own making and three I adopted—I have always made it a practice to avoid giving advice on the subject of raising children. I feel that the process is so personal, so individual and so sacred to the family unit that trying to manufacture principles that work across the board is not only futile, but often a bit arrogant. Yes, to me parenting is a lot like salvation—something we take on for ourselves and handle with a bit of fear and trembling.

That said, I have noticed a phenomenon going on with the fresh crop of care-takers that does concern me. These parents are the children of the baby-boomers and grew up believing that taking care of the kids was an arduous task instead of a human process to be taken in stride with as much good cheer as possible. Yes, the baby boomers have parented a generation which is nearly overwhelmed with the natural order of having off-spring. Too bad.

So I am going to humbly offer two suggestions on the issue and this pair only, for all time. Both suggestions revolve around the word “convenient.”

Good parenting is NEVER doing anything that is inconvenient to yourself, lest you pass on the impression that your children are a burden instead of a delight.

How do you do that? you may ask. Make sure the house is set to an adult temperature of behavior rather than a childish one. For let us be honest—our particular batch of “be fruitful and multiply” are going to spend most of their years as grown-ups, not as children. Nowhere in the real world is anyone going to spank them. Nowhere in the business world do we have “time out.” Nowhere in the working world are we sent to our room to think about our actions.

The adult world is very simple—it boils down to one phrase: “Learn and earn.” If you’re willing to learn how things work, what matters most, and discover the parameters of the project, you will earn the right to participate, the respect of others, and ultimately, get to enjoy a piece of the profits. If you refuse to learn, you are simply left out of the benefits and end up earning less than everyone else. The sooner your children adapt to this axiom of behavior, the more congenial your household will be and the less inconvenient having the little rascals around will seem.

How do we apply this practically? If your kids’ room is a mess, you can explain that the rest of the house does NOT resemble their room, and we that we want the entire house to have a similar look. They don’t have to clean it all at once, but they do need to offer a plan on how they are going to clean it and then honor their own promise. If they don’t, they fail to earn opportunities, allowance, payment or respect. I think children should be allowed to negotiate a deal—as long as they are faithful to their word. When you allow them to do that, you see two magnificent results: (1) they learn to make things better; and (2) they learn to be trustworthy.

So the first suggestion is to make sure the household is set to the mind-set of the adults living there, and not geared to those under the age of eighteen.

The second suggestion is to make sure that everything is NOT convenient—for your children. Just as you have provided for your own convenience, you need to make sure that life is inconvenient enough to them that they will avoid being spoiled, presumptuous and overly-expectant. Surprise them. Involve them in things they haven’t done before. Ask them to sit and enjoy something that is out of their present culture, possessing some historical quality and a part of YOUR life.

Ideal parenting, in my mind, is creating a life for yourself because you have earned it and then finding a way to include your children in that life, where they have the ability to use their own personality as long as they respect the impetus of the household. Simply stated, make the house convenient for the parents and just inconvenient enough for the kids that they garner the power and lesson of “learn and earn.” Then you won’t dread being around them and they won’t sense that they are a burden to you.

For instance, if your son wants to try out for the soccer team, take him to the store and show him how much it costs to buy socks, shoes and shorts. Let him look at the bill. Don’t make him feel bad about it, but give him some tasks to allow him the sensation of earning his chance to be a soccer star.

Every evolution will seem painful at first—especially when your organisms have been stuck in the mud. But the sooner you can teach your children to “learn and earn,” the more quickly you will have a house that is convenient to the adults, and just inconvenient enough to the offspring that they will become better people. Without this, the children run the house, the parents are bedraggled and the kids are confused and bewildered by the responsibility of being in control.

Like I said, this is a one-time stop-off. I suppose I shouldn’t promise I’ll never do it again, but if I do, it will be with the same fear and trembling that every parent feels in the pursuit of trying to build a good human being.

The Rejoice Book

The Rejoice Book (1,256)

September 1st, 2011

Sadness is a selection. Nothing of any value will come out of this particular essay if we don’t understand this point. Now, there are fine folks who would disagree with me, insisting that sadness is inevitable, predictable or even necessary in some situations. But I think it is foolish for us to find ourselves at the mercy of anything but God. Am I saying that nothing should ever make us sad? There are many things that will result in feelings of inadequacy or drain the joy from our countenances—but putting ourselves through the process of being sad is not only an unnecessary detour, but never produces any fulfillment or solution.

That said, how do we reach a point where we side-step depression and embrace redemption? Jesus talks about it in Matthew the 5th Chapter, in a series of scriptures which we refer to as The Beatitudes.

He makes it clear that men will revile you. “Revile” is one of those old-fashioned words that we rarely use, but is best defined as “purposeful ridicule designed to diminish our character or potential.” In other words, someone targets us and begins to bully.

Jesus goes on to say that people will persecute you. Quite bluntly, sometimes our philosophy gets in the way of other people’s agendas. At this point, they feel if they don’t personally attack us and disprove our value, then they can’t muster greater support for their cause.

Jesus also says that people will tell all manner of lies about us falsely. I can always identify true cowards and pernicious liars. In the midst of a disagreement they switch the topic from the subject at hand and begin to attack me personally.

Jesus made it clear that all three of these attacks—reviling, persecuting and lying—are realities. What does he suggest we do?

He says: “Rejoice.” What is rejoice?

Rejoicing is a decision to remember better times instead of focusing on the present. Gosh, I think we should have a Rejoice Book. Every time we see something come to fruition that we dreamed or hoped, and we feel that giddiness in our soul, we should write it down in a journal, date it and punctuate it with our feelings in the moment. So then, when the reviling, persecuting and lies begin, we can open it up and remember that God does work.

Rejoicing is my decision. It’s a profile I take rather than an emotion I feel. It is buying time for God to win out instead of giving in to the present situation and the pressures.

Rejoicing also triggers something chemically in the human body and the human spirit called gladness. Matter of fact, Jesus called it “being exceedingly glad”—literally overwhelmed with elation. The chemicals in our system and brain are never released to benefit us unless we first allow ourselves the courtesy of believing that God is in control and we make that decision to rejoice.

I will remind you again—rejoicing is not an emotion. It’s a decision to create neutrality while we celebrate what God has already done, waiting for that burst of spiritual and physical energy that births an explosion of gladness in our soul. Most people don’t last until the victory comes—so when it does arrive, they either miss it or feel very foolish for having thrown in the towel.

Yes, I will tell you—it is important to start a Rejoice Book. Jot down somewhere the time, date and feelings when you see God save you from your circumstances. Then, when it seems that all has caved in, sit down and read your own findings and in so doing, make a decision to rejoice, which will allow your heart, soul, mind and strength to rally—and rejuvenate you with gladness.

And gladness is what we will need to outlast our critics. There are only two dangers in the midst of trial: (1) that we will give up; and (2) that we will say or do something we can’t take back.

Rejoicing stops you from such foolishness and it ushers in the euphoria of gladness.

I will never be happy until I decide to rejoice and receive the gift of God—which is gladness. What am I glad for?

· I am glad that my problem is temporary—as it always is.

· I am glad that God has handled much worse situations in my life and brought me through.

· I am glad I am not my enemy.

· I am glad that when this is finally resolved, that my faith will be stronger and my enemies will be fewer.

· I am glad that truth has a chance to be given a pulpit through my tribulation.

· I am glad that human life is not simple—because then the ignorant would succeed.

· I am glad I am me, so I don’t have to pretend to be someone else.

Start your own Rejoice Book. If you don’t, you may be surprised by trials and persecutions, and erupt with useless anger that makes your foes believe they have control of you. I make a decision to rejoice, which grants me the oil of gladness.

Published in: on September 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm  Comments (1)  
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Now Here It Is

Now Here It Is (1,255)

August 31st, 2011

Everybody is rich, if by rich you mean accumulating a bunch of stuff to deposit in one place. Yes, we all have favorite acquisitions, and certainly there is a storage building inside the human compartment for placing these similar items until they reach a point we dub “abundance.” And any abundance eventually is assumed to be our “treasure”—and that which we treasure most in our lives, whatever it is, gains the favor of our heart, and the heart, being the center of the emotions, and the human race being an emotionally-energized group of people, causes us to want to tout the essence of our treasure, which becomes the source of most of our dialogue and daily “speak.” It is at this point that other folks enter our realm, hear our words and decide whether we are justified in their eyes, or unfortunately, condemned. Now there’s the process.

This is what Jesus meant when he said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” and “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” It’s why you can take someone to see a great movie filled with plot twists and tremendous emotion, and that person can walk out yammering on about their medications and how they hope their chiropractor will be able to adjust their fourth disc.

The predominance of our abundance creates our treasure. I have been in church services where the obvious presence of God was nearly staggering to my mind, spirit and heart—and strolled into a lobby where I found people grabbing their cell phones to text friends about something completely unrelated to what they just encountered. I don’t say this critically. It’s just an obvious fact that what we decide to become collectors of in our hearts becomes our treasure and spills into our daily conversation.

From that conversation, we are judged by the fellows around us for our intelligence, our passion, our depth, our caring and our general awareness of the world. From that judgment comes our placement and even our social and financial status. Isn’t that amazing?

So what can we do about the abundance of our heart? Can we change our interests without becoming phony or pretentious? Can we actually begin to absorb more enlightened truths and goals which will eventually lead to being more astute and erudite? Of course we can—as long as we avoid hypocrisy.

Spiritual transformation is taking an inventory of our abundance and deciding whether we should keep it or give it over to Good Will. What I have discovered is that most of my faults are stuck in my emotional closet behind a bunch of crap that keeps me from seeing, up close and personal, what is plaguing my progress. Yes, sometimes you have to clean out the closet to discover that you actually do have enough hangers.

So if we decide we want to rearrange our abundance—the wealth of our human emotions—and produce a different treasure, what should we do?

1. I ask people every once in a while what they think I talk about the most. I may not even know. I may be completely oblivious about what words permeate my verbiage. But believe me, those around me have a much better pulse on it.

2. Decide for yourself if what you are accumulating is really treasure or just over-valued junk. It’s simple—just as with clothing and possessions, ideas should be used within the first three months of their hatching. If you haven’t worn a shirt for three months, you can probably afford to get rid of it, and if you have goals you have not pursued for three months, they probably are not really your dreams, but merely your habits.

3. And by the way, I don’t believe there’s any such thing as a good habit. Once you begin to repeat something over and over again, it becomes less passionate, repetitious, or tainted. But what is powerful are fresh habits which we try out to see if they enhance our journey.

4. Since your abundance is your treasure, do you feel like you’re hauling gold around? Or just rocks? The Bible says “he who the Son (Jesus) has set free is free indeed.” If your thoughts and emotions are making you feel leaden and burdened, you are probably due for a transplant in your heart. Happiness always involves lightening your load.

5. And finally, everything is awkward until it becomes normal. If you start thinking, feeling, pursuing and learning something new—to make it your new abundance—be prepared to feel stupid, out of sorts and a little bit wacky. It takes time to accumulate anything. Give yourself a chance to transform.

The thing I like about the gospel of Jesus is that it is the perfect linking between the spiritual world and the physical world. The bridge between the two? The human emotions. And the emotions are triggered by what we decide to accumulate in our beings. This determines the next thing we will say. So a bigot will eventually spout prejudice, a poet will artistically devise a grocery list and a frustrated person will unveil a slew of angry words.

Check out your abundance. It’s right there inside you, marked Treasure—not far from your heart and ready to be turned into a soliloquy of ideas which you will inevitably spiel, identifying who you really are.

Published in: on August 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Frownies

Frownies (1,254)

August 30th, 2011

Harriet loved to hate. Or maybe it was that she hated to love. Well, perhaps both of those are erroneous. Maybe it’s that Harriet knew who and what she loved—and hated everything else.

My mother and father made me call her “aunt,” even though she was actually no relation to us. She lived on the main street of our town in a lovely home, secure in the finance of a pension and peered out of her windows at passing life, scrutinizing and separating the “good apples from the bad apples.” She occasionally emerged to walk the streets with her cane, bestowing her presence and wisdom.

Harriet didn’t like me. I broke all of Harriet’s rules—and when I did, she frowned at me. I know it may sound a bit silly, but a frown may be one of the most vicious expressions of both disapproval and rejection that one human being can impart to another. Not only is a frown a facial presentation, but it also connotes that there is great anguish, sadness and dissatisfaction lying beneath. Yes, a frown is the tip of the iceberg of even greater chilliness.

Harriet frowned at me a lot.

I was too loud—and she thought loud was bad.

My hair actually touched my ears—which, in her assessment, was just short of the abomination of desolation.

I went to Columbus and interacted with black people—which she found inappropriate. (Matter of face, Harriet frowned at a black man and a white woman who were dating in our community. This was obviously bad for two reasons: the races shouldn’t mix and, in Harriet’s world, sex was bad.)

For a season I even tried to learn Harriet’s commandments so that I might avoid her scathing glance. But it seemed to me that the litany of taboos was ever-increasing, and try as I might, I could never get her approval. So I began to avoid her—but seemed to run into her at least once a week. Looking back now, I realize that she was actually seeking me out because she knew that her opinion of value to me, and therefore she wielded some power in my life.

Harriet just loved to frown. There were a lot of frownies in my hometown when I was growing up. They were so sure they were right. It seemed they would gossip about most everything under the sun—until one of their own children or grandchildren sprouted that particular iniquity. Then the problem, rather than being sinful, became either a condition or a disease. For instance, Harriet had a grandson who ended up being gay, so her mindset changed from believing that the homosexual was human kindling for the fires of hell to “Little Richie has a different lifestyle—and he’s working on it.”

I never knew what that meant. Why? Because Harriet didn’t know what it meant. It was just a safe way to internally frown while externally contending that her grandson was not a freak.

Frownies—they’re everywhere. I see them on Sunday mornings in churches. I wonder why these people have actually taken the time to dress up and spray some Right Guard under their arm pits, to show up at a place that actually makes them miserable. I see frownies in department stores when people of different sizes, shapes and colors walk by. They scrunch their faces to let everyone know that something abhorrent has transpired.

I occasionally even catch myself, in moments of deliberation, accidentally re-creating that expression on my own countenance, and I lurch back in horror at the fear that someone may actually have observed it. I don’t ever want to frown at you, my friend. You deserve better. Even if I’m afflicted by a passing flu, a common cold, an aching head or an upset stomach, it’s best for me to escape into my cave of recovery and not subject you to my crinkled brow.

Human beings deserve better than frowns. Frownies are children who never grew up, who express their inadequacies over their own abilities by trying to devastate the confidence of others.

My journey has allowed me to stand in front of tens of thousands of high school students, hundreds of thousands of people in church congregations, and even share my life in the presence of murderers and rapists in prisons. Here’s what I know: a frown is useless. No one required one—not even those who are frowners themselves.

So I am always cautious when I feel a bit of self-righteousness trying to sneak into my soul—to blink three times, allowing my eyes to soften and my gaze to lower, which amazingly enough, causes the corners of my mouth to naturally curl up instead of down.

It’s true, you know—you should try it. The next time you behold someone or something that rattles your cage, simply blink three times to soften your peepers and your mouth will follow suit by producing a more neutral expression instead of a notorious frown.

Harriet died. Until today, I have never thought about her, wondered about her or remembered anything of significance concerning her time on earth. I realize I can only share about this woman as a bad example—an object lesson. I hope wherever she is, she is not offended by these words, but rather, understands that it is a necessary tale to be told—to warn others of the dangers of frowning.

Frownies

Not nearly as sweet as brownies—but equally as dangerous to the human heart.

Published in: on August 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Two Wrongs Can Make a Right

Two Wrongs Can Make a Right (1,252)

August 28th, 2011

It happened again. I screwed up and I immediately tried to figure out devious ways to screw it back down before anyone noticed I had unscrewed it. It’s such a waste of time. The energy that each one of us expends, plotting our excuses and escaping responsibility, probably shortens our lives by twenty years.

Yet it seems difficult to comprehend the importance of the phrase, “Own it.” The fact of the matter is, much less time would be spent in incrimination if we told the truth than is sapped by others pummeling us with criticism when they discover we have lied. What causes this? Is it that we want to escape responsibility, appear perfect or avoid all critique? Or, in some bizarre fashion, is deception exhilarating?

I’m not sure. But I know this—as I have made it my mission in life to become more transparent, I have had less conflict, less fussiness and less intervention from others into my space. So there is a “wrong” that happens in our journey that is obvious even to us. When it is obvious to us, the best path is to quickly take ownership of the moment, get it over with and start moving towards restitution and reconciliation instead of repudiation and retribution.

But behold, there is a second “wrong.” This one often escapes the common man’s review. Because there are things we do that are not obvious to us—but are obvious to others because they cause offense. And these offended individuals will let us know that we have breached their comfort zone and they require some retraction.

Now, this is where most of us go haywire—because our first instinct is to accuse the offended individuals of being too sensitive, or maybe telling them that they have “misunderstood” us. Whatever turf we gained by grasping the concept of “owning” our faults is quickly lost as we once again exercise our pernicious attitude of making excuses.

At times we even become abusive towards the bruised souls and see them as “attacking” us because they don’t like our approach to the matter. I will go so far as to suggest that most relationships do not break up over blatant sinful actions, but rather, over trivial disagreements that escalate into huge storms of complete misunderstanding.

Here’s the truth: if someone says that I have offended them—I did.

Whether I meant to or not is irrelevant. The only response to anyone who claims they have been offended is, “I’m sorry. And now that I understand your heart in this matter, I will be much more careful to be sensitive to your need.”

That’s it. Now—if you find that the offended person continues to be touchy, you have a second choice. Avoid him.

Some of my best friendships with folks have occurred as I’ve lessened my personal contact. It has sweetened the time we do have to be together, and it’s taught me that when I am around them that certain subjects are taboo. Yes, I’ve been shown it. People will show you where you have intruded into their person psyche.

If you’re going to become a person who discovers true righteousness, you will recognize the potential for both of these wrongs—one of them of your own making, which you need to own, and one that is the offense of others, which you are often shown.

You can’t find what’s right if you don’t understand the wrongs. Simply stated, it’s “I did it” and “I’m sorry I offended you.”

Anything else added onto these two phrases is not only useless and boring, but just continues to frustrate the situation with meaningless chatter. If you learn how to handle these two wrongs, you can create a right. So two wrongs can make a right. If you don’t, you will spend all of your time thinking up ways to defend yourself or excuse yourself—entirely too many hours discussing instead of living. It’s just not worth it for four-and-a-half seconds of prideful satisfaction.

So make up your mind. The two wrongs are inevitable because of our humanity. We will err and if we are willing to admit it quickly, it will pass just the same way. We will offend—and if we love people enough to allow them to have their own feelings without clearing them through us, we can apologize, learn and even avoid too much contact, which may cause further offense.

For after all, being a “good person” is not always agreeing with everybody else. Being a good person is taking honest self-assessment—and making sure you allow your neighbor the same courtesy as you grant yourself.

Published in: on August 28, 2011 at 10:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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