Growing up, we'd be in church on Sunday morning. Praising Jesus, sharing and fellow-shipping with one another and enjoying all that God had given us. We were happy to help one another and be uplifting. We would pray for the lost souls that had not found their way to Jesus.
As the music played and the minster spoke, we would fill our hearts with wonder and amazement at new insights presented to us based upon the scriptures. We would walk out of the church feeling so wonderful and loved and blessed.
Then, it happened!
It was when we got in the car, that everything changed. All of the sudden you would hear, "did you know Sam's brother was an alcoholic?" "Did you know that Teresa and Joe were not married, but they have two kids together?" "I was shocked to learn that the Donarays were struggling in their marriage!" By all means, "the Jackson boy told his parents he was gay!" (all names are fictional to illustrate a point)
These are only a few of the examples I would hear from my own parents and family. We weren't alone, because as a kid I loved to listen to the adult conversations. Heck, some of these people wouldn't even wait to leave the church before they shared their insights (a.k.a gossip). As long as they were quietly whispering in the corner away from the individual they were talking about, it was fair game to gossip.
Of course, no one called it gossip. No one would entertain the thought that it was gossip. No one would admit to doing this. Yet, they would push and solicit more information out of the individuals so they could better pray for them. In fact, it was more, "keep me up-to-date" so I can pray better for the individual. At least that's why my little ears heard beyond the words they said.
Keep me up-to-date stuff...
I'm sure they all meant well, or I hope they did. However, this "keep me up-to-date stuff was more fodder for the gossip. Yeah, I know, if I was standing on stage saying this, there's a good chance tomatoes would be thrown at me by now. If they didn't throw tomatoes, they would be claiming that "my church" doesn't do this! They would claim, I don't do this! They would make sure you knew they were the self-righteous ones, not like all those other heathen churches.
This always made me feel icky inside as a kid. Yet, I got so brainwashed in it that I thought it was how the world worked. I would find out later, that it would take me years to start understanding just how brainwashed and deluded I was. It would take years for me to undo the brainwashing that I had been forced into.
And according to my family, I'm the "brainwashed one" because I didn't obey their every brainwashing command!
As humans, if we're not careful, we do the complete opposite of what we think we do. We blind ourselves to what we do as if we are the righteous ones, while others are the ones that need the help. It is only through deep soul searching and awareness, that we discover who we truly are.
If you're not carefully evaluating yourself and going deep within to see what is in your innermost heart, than you're most likely part of the problem you despise. Often we deflect the parts in our own life that we don't want to see by pointing the fingers at everyone else. It is an easy and effective way of keeping the spotlight off of what is truly on the inside of us.
It is easy to say we have love in our words, but the hard part is showing that we truly do.
Blog Post And Images (c) 2016 by Don Shetterly
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