when you know you’re right

Have you ever tried to tell someone that they need to go on a diet? Or, on the other hand, has anyone ever tried to tell you? I’m overweight. I know it when I look in the mirror for too long. So I just stopped looking in the mirror and I go about my life fat and happy.

It’s not that different. More humorous, of course, but just as likely to ruin your life in a lot of ways. Nobody talks about gluttony in the church because, I mean, who really wants to talk about that? It’s personal. I can be fat and eat a whole pizza with extra cheese and it’s “nunya.”

How we go about engaging in issues that touch a nerve makes all the difference. How do we do it? How do we convince people who have zero interest and tolerance in discussing what they refuse to admit as a problem? It’s too easy to just walk away and ignore it, which we’ve tried. It’s painful to watch and to leave subtle hints, we’ve tried that too. Or to adopt the just model what others are supposed to do and be and maybe they’ll just catch on. I’ve been trying that method for most of my Christian life and keeping my mouth shut. And I don’t think that’s working either.

My husband tries to help me. That’s a difficult balance beam to walk. We know this. Your spouse isn’t going to come out and say you’re fat, lose weight. But maybe he has. Maybe that’s what’s been happening. On both sides. We’ve escalated beyond leaving subtle clues, buying salads, leaving out articles about exercises and suggesting going to the gym. We’ve escalated to yelling stop being lazy. You know you need to exercise. You know you need to put down that Ben and Jerrys.

And on all sides we’re just pointing fingers and trying to elevate our own pride for being more right. The analogy stops there because being overweight is unhealthy and no one can rationally dispute that. But at the same time, being a little overweight is the norm here and we have rationalized the average instead of the ideal. We’re ok with less than ideal. It’s a drastic shift in perspective when as a society we just give up and say Live and let live. We’ve tried that. We’re still trying it.

Who among us can throw the stone? Which one of us has the final word? Is there another way? Is there a way we can carefully dismantle our glass houses, or, to mix analogies, turn the glass houses into something inviting and warm and engaging? We’re instinctively good at burning bridges, destroying our chances at mutual understanding and finding new ways to grow and mature together. Immaturity says I have nothing to learn from you. Immaturity says my thoughts will always lead to the right answer on their own.

We need each other. I think Jesus was clear on that point. I think he set up – on purpose, maybe? – communities of people who were so very different but had one thing, the most important thing, in common, their need for him. Our need for Jesus has to drive the bus. Our need for Jesus has to keep us from running each other off the road. Our need for Jesus should dictate the rules of traffic and how we navigate each other and all our varied agendas. Because our destinations, more often than not, are the same: peace, love, community, wholeness, redemption. It’s our methods that get in the way. It’s our driving styles that create the chaos. And I’m not saying we have to stop using the zipper merge because people don’t like it. I’m saying we have to figure out a way to convince people the zipper merge is correct and the best usage of the road. Can we please figure this out? And soon.



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