Right after school ended for the semester, we went into high gear to publish three books during the month of May (and had just published one mid-April). Once all the books were published, life came to a screeching halt – the kind where you stop, look around, and say “okay, that was fun, now what?”
Since the end of May, I’ve spent time observing people in various aspects. I’ve surfed the internet, catching up on news, events, and blogs I’ve not read in a while, I’ve scrolled through Facebook posts from friends and acquaintances in all my groups, I’ve attended meetings online and in person, I’ve visited with friends and family, and I’ve even managed to explore some new places. And daily, I’ve fielded e-mails from writers and readers with questions about submissions, editing, our contests, and the Hope Tour.
In the midst of all of it, I noticed a pattern that overlapped from one group of folks to another. The fact that this pattern is not coming from just one group of people, or one aspect of my life, but from all areas, is what caught my attention.
Over the past week, I’ve observed the following:
- People bashing others who have more knowledge and wisdom, only because they’re “dated” or “old.”
- Those who have more knowledge and wisdom bashing those who are still growing and learning.
- People who wanted to break rules, or make exceptions to rules, because it suits them.
- People who are so focused on themselves they don’t see the big picture.
- People who speak before they think.
- Judgment toward others by people who haven’t walked in the same shoes of people they’re judging.
All of this makes me sad, and sadder still to recognize myself in some of it. Just in case you recognize yourself in any of this, my observations aren’t limited to one specific group or one particular person. I’m not picking on anyone. It’s just that I’ve encountered these things from strangers and from those closest to me, from professional relationships as well as personal, from online and in person, and I want to learn from it, to grow from it.
We are all unique beings – down to the tiniest speck of DNA. Sure, we’re the same in some areas, but for the most part, we’re unique, different, one-of-a-kind masterpieces made by God Himself. Cookie-cutter houses and cars are bad enough – do we really want to have or be cookie-cutter people, too?
What is wrong with us, that we can’t see that others have gone before us, so we can learn from their experiences? What’s wrong with us that we can’t see how far we’ve grown and yet recognize and have compassion toward others who are still growing? What’s wrong with us that following rules or guidelines has become too difficult or too bothersome? Where is our consideration for others? Our respect? Where is our love for one another?
Stop for a moment. Look around you. This world isn’t all about you. It’s not all about me, either. There are hurting people out there who need hope. There are people who are struggling to live the best they can who need encouragement. There are people out there who’ve worked many years to get where they are now, and they deserve our respect.
Paul wrote the Corinthians a message that bears repeating:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. … And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 NIV)
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul also listed the fruits of the Spirit – the tangible results of what our lives reflect if we’re living God-honoring lives. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)
What does your life reflect from a professional standpoint? From a personal one? Is there an area or two where you need work? I do, and I intend to start on my knees.