One of the British national newspapers asked their readers for their comments on what it means to be British. Here is a comment from a person born in Switzerland who has lived in Britain for twelve years.
“Being British is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer and then traveling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows on a Japanese TV; and the most British thing of all? Suspicion of anything foreign.”
Just like the British, we tend to see things the way we are rather than the way they are. We see things through our own experiences, wounds, political views, biases, prejudices, nationalities, affiliations, and the like. But what happens when what we think we are seeing is not really what we are seeing? What happens when we look at someone or something through our favorite, rose-colored glasses and make a judgment about someone or something which is not even close to ‘real’ reality?
Most times there is a difference between our reality and ‘real’ reality. Let me explain. A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging up the wash outside. “That laundry not very clean,” she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.
About a month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: “Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?” The husband said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
It’s easy to turn a molehill into a mountain when our windows are dirty. It’s much easier to try and change everyone else when we’re unaware we are the ones that need changing. Here’s my advice. Every time you try and change someone, remember how hard it is to change yourself. Everyone wants to progress but no one wants to change, especially if it’s with themselves.
The problem with dirty windows is that we can become cynical and jaded. We see the faults, while not knowing all the facts. H. L. Mencken says, “A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.” In other words, it’s not what you’re eating that determines your health, it’s what eating you that determines your health. A chip on the shoulder usually indicates wood higher up. Anger not transformed is anger transferred. What’s eating at you affects your sight and insight.
Someone once said, “Remember, only mean people who are not happy with themselves are mean to others.” There’s some truth in that. Most times, it ends up hurting the critic more than the critiqued.
This doesn’t mean that we throw away discernment or not speaking out when something truly needs correcting or changing. However, let’s make sure that we first examine ourselves and make sure the windows of our soul are clean enough to see others clearly and non-judgmentally.
The Bible gives us wisdom on this. “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.”
Titus 1:15. In other words, to the pure everything is pure. To the impure, everything is impure. Dirty windows have been the ruin of many a poor man and woman.
How do you get rid of mental and emotional impurity? How can you be purer in your soul? The first step is to examine yourself, not others. Take your glasses off and look at yourself. Many of you know the log in your eye and the speck in another’s eye story in the Bible. Here’s the story in modern language from the Message Bible.
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults - unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.” Matthew 7:1-5.
Secondly, stop listening to others who are jaded and critical, viewing everyone and everything through their favorite colored glasses. Jaded people, jade people. Unintentionally or intentionally deceptive people unintentionally or intentionally deceive people. Their issues and hurt drive them to be in ‘it to spin it.’ These kinds of institutions and people don’t speak to you, they speak at you. There is no room for discussion or correction. It’s one way and that is our way. If you don’t agree with them, their condescending default is, “You just don’t get it.”
As I have said many times in this article, if you don’t heal from what hurt you, you will bleed all over people who didn’t cut you. You can feel their pain but don’t become their pain and then transfer their pain to innocent others. By the way, the worst thing about being deceived is, you’re deceived.
You see, the world is like a mirror, frown at it and it frowns at you. Smile at it and it smiles too! By the way, healed people, heal people. And get this, formerly impure people after washing their windows, purify people. I can see clearly now the window cleaner has come.