Today my “readings” in two different books were ones where I had previously underlined pretty much the entire entries. One was on judging others and one was on envying others. Good ones, right? Usually it’s pretty clear what I “need” to write about, but I was deliberating on this one. Well, it just so happens that my “Breaking Bad” delivery of Neupogin shots won’t come in the mail until tomorrow, which means I had to go the the Cancer Institute to get one. On my way out to my car, my injection site ( in my STOMACH-ugh) starting hurting. I said out loud, to myself, “I didn’t like that.” And thus, I smiled to myself and knew immediately what I was going to ramble on about today: More on “Everything I Need to know I Learned at Special Ed Pre-School.” (Now that I read all that, it sounds a bit like “If you give a mouse a Cookie” train of logic).
Here’s what I learned and how I learned it. Scenario: dozens of pre-schoolers running around on the playground (we called it something more learning appropriate, but I can’t remember what it was!). A child comes running up to a teacher and tattles on his friend, “so-and-so threw bark dust at me.”
Teacher: “Did you like that?”
Teacher: “Well, then go tell him, ‘I don’t like that.'”
Child runs back to the culprit, gets about an inch from his face and screams, “I don’t like that!”
Culprit (with a confused shrug) “OK?!?!?”
Results: both children run off and begin playing with each other as if nothing ever happened. Problem solved.
If only adults could handle such a mature interaction. God is pretty clear on how we should talk to address someone who has offended or hurt us: ALONE. The first step is “just between the two of you.” Eeek. I would much rather talk about it with, oh, EVERYONE ELSE. I am guilty of being at the giving and receiving end of that nonsense. Someone hurts my little feelings and instead of saying to them, “I don’t like that”, I get sympathy by tattling to my “other” more sensitive friends. OR, a friend has had THEIR little feelings hurt, and I listen to them express their pain, at length, when what I should say to them, “Did you like that? Then tell them, ‘I don’t like that.'”
As I was looking up some outsider info on these instructions from Matthew 18:15, learned something I have never understood regarding this passage: it’s not all about ME. What? I thought this was about helping ME feel better about an offense? This commentator helped me see that as per His nature, God is about love and reconciliation, not just between Him and His Creation (me and you), but also between us as brothers and sisters in Creation (me and you). See if this passage gives you goose bumps too:
If someone has done you injury and you have suffered, what should be done? You have heard the answer already in today’s scripture: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.” If you fail to do so, you are worse than he is. He has done someone harm, and by doing harm he has stricken himself with a grievous wound. Will you then completely disregard your brother’s wound? Will you simply watch him stumble and fall down? Will you disregard his predicament? If so, you are worse in your silence than he in his abuse. Therefore, when any one sins against us, let us take great care, but not merely for ourselves. For it is a glorious thing to forget injuries. Just set aside your own injury, but do not neglect your brother’s wound. Therefore “go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone,” intent upon his amendment but sparing his sense of shame.”
Again, if a Special Ed Pre-Schooler can handle it….