I have all this stuff to say… But right now my brain is fighting with the country music playing in the next room and the T.V. program promoting beauty products in this almost empty waiting room.
Focus. Is it possible?
Nope. I had to step outside.
I had an “encounter” with a man at church Sunday. He has to be in his seventies. The guy likes to talk. He has all this wisdom and knowledge locked up in his brain with little opportunity to spill it. As a result, anytime you speak to him you have essentially opened the gates.
This particular morning I decided I would let him know that the color of the shirt he was wearing was a really great color on him. Why would I do that? I don’t know, maybe to lift him up. As women we feel the need to compliment each other all the time. “Hey Susie I love that scarf, it is so cute, it brings out the blue in your eyes.” Susie replies in grandiose style obviously pleased, “Really? I wasn’t sure about this scarf with this blouse. I got it at So Fine Boutique. Massive sale I tell you, scored big. This was only $4!”
I wonder how often men compliment each other? “Dude, stellar jeans. Was gonna wear my belt like that but thought…no, I’ll go with the black one.”
I don’t think it happens as much as they (men)would like. As women we feel a little awkward sometimes about complimenting men, especially if we are married or seeing someone. This is what has prompted me to write about my encounter with this man.
His response to me was a smile and…”You are the second married woman to compliment me on this shirt in the last two days. I wore it again today because of the woman’s compliment yesterday. Thank you. I am glad you felt safe enough to compliment me on my shirt.”
My reply was a smile and “You’re welcome.”
He proceeded. “The church should be a safe place among safe people to compliment each other and lift others up without fear of someone thinking something inappropriate is happening.”
I again smiled and agreed. I said “yes agreed… The bottom line is simple, that shirt color really does look good on you. You should know that…and as for my motive, God knows my heart and that’s who I answer to.” He laughed and said …”and that’s how I know your compliment is pure.”
I haven’t been able to get that conversation out of my head.
Isn’t it funny how we are so careful with our words, trying not to give a bad impression or hurt anyone’s feelings? Even at that, some how we still end up with -foot in mouth- or looking like someone we are not. What if……. What if we decided to change our whole perspective? We know that we can’t change someone else’s thoughts, but maybe through our actions someone else could change how they think about things.
For instance, what if everyone assumed that what came out of your mouth was pure? What if especially in the confines of our church and our church families we assumed that everything that came out of their mouth was pure? There wouldn’t be misconceptions of the idea that there is an underlying meaning or an underlying jab. I have some “black” friends that I love an adore. You are probably already judging me for that statement, but hang in there with me. If I say something that is on the outside blatantly racists, I get judged. When I say with excitement to my “black” friend.. “Hey, we are having dinner tomorrow night, my house..I think you will want to come … fried chicken, collard greens and watermelon.” He knows I am not remarking on the stereo type that he should like those foods considering his color and all, but that he really does like those foods and I don’t want him to miss out so he should come! He knows my heart is pure. I love him in a Christ like way so there is nothing to be offended about.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
So what if we started viewing things with a pure heart? What if we stopped trying to live up to an expectation outside of God’s and decided to just be who we are through God? What does that look like? How freeing would that be? How many more things could I compliment you on?
By the way….. That shirt looks good on you. 🙂