Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Are We Sharing Stains?

It was a typical morning of getting the girls dressed, fed, packed and ready for school. In the rush of our morning rituals, we somehow all ended up in Kenzie's room. Kenzie was picking out her clothes for the day when the conversation steered to Dad's ineptness at putting up their clothes. Apparently, I made the grievous error of placing a few of Kenzie's tights in Mady's closet. As the arrows were flying across the room from my beautiful daughters toward their stereotypical father who doesn't pay attention to whose clothes are whose, I made the small suggestion that the girls share clothes. Mady, my 12 almost 13 year old, was not having any of that. She said emphatically in a matter of a fact tone, "No, no, no, no, no. We are not sharing clothes and we are not sharing stains." It was quite a humorous moment in the midst of our morning chaos.

Kenzie takes after her Dad. Sometimes, she misses her mouth and ends up with a food stain on her shirt. Mady wanted no part of Kenzie's stains. As the morning continued, I thought a lot about that. The question came to mind, "Are we sharing stains?"

Stain means "to leave a mark on something." In the Audacity of Everything age we live, we are constantly being stained with offense. Are we sharing stains? Are we sharing those offenses? Basically, are we tainting someone else's view of a person or situation based on our perceived offense?

It is like a classic scene from a movie or T.V. show, someone throws food across the cafeteria
staining the clothes of an unsuspecting student. Then, the retaliation happens. Food is hurled violently toward the offending party. Still frustrated with the situation, the stained party turns and hurls tuna surprise in the direction of their close friends who have been laughing at their plight of green peas and potatoes oozing down their shirt. Pretty soon, lasagna and bologna are flying across the cafeteria in all directions. Everyone leaves stained.

When we are offended, do we turn around and stain an innocent party? Do we retaliate and stain someone else? The Bible teaches us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Leviticus 19:18 (NIV) reads, " “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people,but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." We need to love our neighbor by not seeking revenge and not holding a grudge. We should love our neighbor by not sharing stains.

How should we respond then? Jesus taught us how to respond in Luke 6. 

Luke 6:27-31 (NIV) "But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you."

So, the next time someone offends us, let's not share our stains. :)

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