It’s a normal scene here in our small town. Mothers shopping with their adult daughters, friends shopping together—sometimes sharing the same cart. No one thinks anything of it when you get to the checkout line and divide it by household.
Or rather, they didn’t. Before.
A friend posted on Facebook last week that she’d gone to the store with her daughters. Three packages of toilet paper—you’d think they were prepping for A.D. 70 all over again or something! The looks they got. The comments. The backhanded attacks.
Because three women together must live in the same house. Right?
I’ve heard it said for years. “You are who you become in a crisis.”
How you respond to mistreatment, deprivation, or chaos is the real you deep down. They say that’s what is lurking beneath the veneer of civility we polish every day. I get the point, and I won’t pretend I haven’t used the phrase, “He’s showing his true colors now,” when someone lashes out in the midst of his trial.
After all, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart” (Luke 6:45).
Yeah… I don’t buy it anymore.
The “who you are in a crisis” thing, not the “abundance of the heart” thing.
You know why?
That guy down the street? The one who brings up his trash cans every week like clockwork? The one who mows his yard and trims his weeds. You know, the man who drives down the street at a reasonable pace and watches out for children and stray balls in the road? The guy who helps look for stray puppies and buys all the stuff the kids sell for their schools or sports teams?
Yeah. That man. That nice man. Your good neighbor. The one everyone wishes all your neighbors were more like?
Why is it that when he finds out his son has been arrested for unspeakable crimes, and he lashes out at a kid who cuts corners across his lawn… why is that the only speech that counts to prove the “abundance of his heart?”
What makes us ignore the abundance of all the kind, gracious things he’s said and done at all the other times?
Why isn’t that what defines him?
In the midst of “this present distress,” we can focus on all the blech and ick that comes out of people and redefine who we think they “really are” based on what is often just the fallout from a media-driven drive to keep people frenzied and panicked… #becauseratings. We can jump on folks with our backhanded attacks couched in fine-sounding “proverbs” about how this is who they really are or…
We can focus on the companies that have shifted their focus for now.
Companies like some of the movie producers who have broken protocol and made their new releases available to stream so people don’t have to leave their homes to see the latest. I’ll be watching the new Emma this weekend. Woot!
Places like Joann Crafts… who have created mask kits that you can pick up and sew for hospitals.
People like online entrepreneurs who are giving away or have greatly slashed the prices of their courses so people can use downtime productively. (too many to list, folks! Too many.
Authors who have set their books free to give people something to read without straining budgets that might be taking a hit right now. My friend Cathe Swanson has been creating giant lists of them for readers! You should check out her website and see what she’s found lately.
And hey, #BecauseFiction Magazine is featuring author “Read Alongs” on Facebook.
Like the Celebrate Lit page and stay tuned. Popular authors will be reading the first chapters of our books aloud for you. God taught me something in that, and I shared it at the beginning of my recording for Christmas on Breakers Point. You can find out more about these “Read Alongs” on the Celebrate Lit Page on Facebook.
There’s more that people are doing… way more. (and some of those links were affiliate links, so I receive a small commission. Doesn’t cost you extra.)
You should check them out. Do a Google search. Find out what’s going on that you could help with or would help you.
It’s time to stop with the backhanded attacks, people.
Because we’re not the sum of our worst moments.
We’re God’s people, created in HIS image, washed clean, and filled with His Spirit. And a bad moment, day, week, month, or even period doesn’t redefine who we are.
Go out. Show grace. Be a picture of Christian charity when you feel most like showing what Jesus redeemed.
And whatever you do… don’t let what ends up in the sewer anyway become more important than the people it’s meant to serve.
Or something like that.
I’ve got to say it again. Please. No more backhanded attacks. The world needs encouragement. Go find what someone did right. It’ll bless you… and add something uplifting to the abundance of your heart.