Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Real Me and You

Why do we treat strangers better than we treat loved ones? No, not all the time, but most of us will say things to family and close friends that are rude, even hateful. We justify saying these things by telling ourselves it is ok; we can “let down our hair” with people we know well. With friends and family we can “be who we really are.”

“Who we really are” isn’t always very pretty. That’s why we learn early to put up a front, to be polite when company is over, to behave a certain way in church, and to say “yes, sir,” “no, sir,” “yes, ma’am,” and “no, ma’am” to people we don’t know. In public and polite company we act the way we ought to act rather than being who we really are.

Being around people who love us is not the only environment that brings out this notion of who we really are. When we are stressed, tired, or otherwise pushed to our limits we also tend to let down our guard and act out without taking the time and energy to consider what we say and how we act before saying and acting.

If you don’t see it yet, let me clarify: isn’t it pathetic that “who we really are” is something that we rightly hide in public? What does it say about our lives that we think it is usually inappropriate to simply act like ourselves?

By contrast, consider Jesus, whose crucifixion and resurrection we remember and observe this week. After having been abandoned by his friends, beaten by his enemies and hung on a cross, Jesus, at a stress level beyond my imagination, welcomed a thief into paradise, commissioned his mother into the care of a disciple, and asked God to forgive all of us.

At the very point that we would all understand Jesus getting justifiably ticked at everyone, he loved. I have no doubt Jesus was under too much stress and in to great a pain to carefully consider how he ought to behave in public. “Who he really is” is seen when we look at how he acted on the cross.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” - John 14:12


At 9:31 PM, Anonymous dw said...

are you still writing for the Tribune? haven't seen any articles by you lately?

At 11:56 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

I went to FUMC round rock, if that helps place me at all.

I'm joining a presbyterian church next month, so i cant claim to be a faithful methodist... but i did spend 18 years of my life emmersed in methodism... so you can add me if you so choose. My theological posts aren't very Methodist, however. Use your own disgression. :-)

At 5:15 AM, Blogger Steve Heyduck said...

I am on the Waco Tribune-Herald's rotation for the column in Saturday's Religion section. I don't recall the last time I wrote, but it must be getting about that time again.

Thanks for asking!

At 6:51 AM, Blogger NMayes said...

Why else would a loving God allow us adversity except to see the "real you and me" (or more appropriately to see Jesus through us).

I also think we sometimes treat loved ones differently because we expect something of them that we don't with casual friends and strangers, rather than accept them the way they are. How many marriages fail because one spouse always expected to "change" the other?

At 12:07 PM, Anonymous johnnybrower said...

no doubt that the ugly, unacceptable side of us that is sometimes shown to our family, and others when we are stressed, is our real identity. The problem comes in when we decide to simply hide that person in the sites of others, yet let it "shine" with the ones we are most comfortable with.

instead of putting on the mask to go out in public, we should realize that it IS there and say, "holy crap! that's got to change!" i want the me that is stressed to be the same loving person that i am in any other condition. (e.g. jesus when under the tremendous burden of the world)

At 12:08 PM, Anonymous johnnybrower said...

man...i'm ashamed...*sights...not sites....(idiot!)


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