Have you ever been under a microscope? If you hold any position of authority, the answer is probably yes. Or if you ever take a strong stand for, or against, something. People love to watch other people fall. Just turn on America's Funniest Videos and you know that to be true. I am always amazed at the way people laugh when others take some rather serious spills.
Whether the falling is physical, spiritual or otherwise, people like to point fingers. Sometimes they laugh, sometimes they shake their heads in disgust, sometimes they write letters to the editor and sometimes they let the person have it. But with each response there is a greater underlying response -- judgment. We laugh at so-called idiots. It makes us feel superior.
We criticize moral character. It makes us feel righteous.
We label others as hypocrites. It makes us feel justified.
As Green Grandma, I am under the microscope. People are watching me. God forbid I get caught coming out of the grocery store with a gasp plastic bag! Believe me, I am especially paranoid about being spotted with one of those. But let me tell you -- occasionally, we need plastic bags around here and my husband gets frustrated when there are none to be found.
"But I have an image to maintain," I rationalize. That doesn't really pacify him. So if any of you want to donate some plastic grocery bags, feel free. Bill will thank you for it!
Back to my point...I am under a microscope. Of course, sometimes it is self-imposed, I realize. For instance, we have a small group Bible study in our home on Thursday nights. People take turns bringing snacks. Naturally, we do not use paper plates. However, I have a drawer full of pretty cocktail napkins that happen to be paper. I received these as gifts through the years, as well as thoughtlessly buying them myself...long before I became Green Grandma.
At our first meeting in September, I pulled out the paper napkins. After all, they're not doing any good in the buffet drawer, right? You have no idea how awkward I felt placing them on the table for our guests to use. When I had everyone's attention, I explained why we were using them. Everyone quickly dismissed my concern, obviously not bothered in the least that Green Grandma was using something disposable. Of course, I was among friends.
But what about strangers? What happens when they have me under the microscope? Well, for one thing, they let me know when they spot hypocrisy. A comment was posted on the blog a couple of weeks ago. As I read it, I got angry. Apparently this anonymous person drove past a car with a large Green Grandma magnet on the passenger door. Mind you, it was not my car. The anonymous poster was quick to point out that he/she thought it ironic when he/she saw a passenger in the car smoking. They found it both sad and amusing. I found it infuriating and quickly picked up the phone to call the owner of the car and request that the sign be removed. You see, I have an image to portray. Sometimes I might fail to live up to that image, but at least it will be me failing. The sign is no longer on her car.
When is the last time you jumped to a conclusion based on something you saw or heard? Did you make the leap to judgment? Let's face it -- we have probably all done it at one time or another. But maybe it is time to cut people some breaks. Extend some grace. After all, we are all struggling in one way or another. I, myself, am trying to make a difference in this world or ours. Sometimes I succeed. And sometimes I fail. So I pick myself up and move forward. It seems the only logical solution.
If you spot some hypocrisy in me, let me know. But please pepper your words with grace. And while you're at it, send some of that grace to someone else who is struggling. Most likely, it is the very thing they need.
Keeping it real,