Message from a Mattress Along the Road
August 11, 2017
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While living in Florida I usually take a morning walk where I end up on a little-used street behind a plot of palm trees. On this one particular morning I came upon an old mattress and box spring set that someone had discarded. Whoever did this, undoubtedly after dark, took littering to a new level!
What kind of person would do this? That’s what I wondered. I hope they have some restless nights on their new mattress dealing with a guilty conscience of how they disposed of their old one!
I find myself regularly shaking my head, figuratively if not literally, in bewilderment at what some people will do or even say. In fact, being critical of others is really easy for me to do!
I don’t want to be critical (okay, maybe I do), but I’ve noticed that most of us have trouble with being critical. Please humor me.
What I’m trying to say is that none of us is perfect, including this writer. We may not litter the roadway with our old mattress, maybe not even with a gum wrapper, but I have it on good report (the Bible) that we all litter life with wrong words and actions and even wrong thoughts.
It makes little sense for me to make it my life’s goal to straighten out other people. The only one I have any say in changing is me!
Does this mean we can’t be honest with others when we feel they’re in the wrong or have hurt us or others? No, there’s a need for honesty and openness in relationships if they’re to thrive. On the other hand, we can enjoy being critical of and correcting others too much while at the same time ignoring where we ourselves could use some change for the better.
It’s been said that the unexamined life is not worth living. The next time I see the roadside trash of an extreme litterbug I’m still going to allow myself a few moments of astonishment mixed with anger. But then I’m going to let it remind me that there’s still some cleaning up to do in my own life.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Luke 6:41)