This “lightbulb moment” has been forming over the course of several days. God has been slowly revealing certain truths to me…from different angles…until a bigger picture developed.
It’s kind of like when we had moved to Omaha, NE. My mom would pile us kids in the car, stop at a gas station to fill the tank and get everyone something to drink for the journey…and then just DRIVE. We’d drive around, exploring different areas around us. Slowly, as we kept getting lost…and then finding familiar paths we’d been on before, a bigger picture…a “map” of sorts…was formed in our minds. Then we could find our way pretty much anywhere in and around that city. : )
This line of thinking started when a friend and I were talking how interesting it was…and confusing sometimes…how there have been times when people would apologize to us for using profanity in our presence, even though it wasn't something we had said anything about to them, nor was it something we expected them to do...she'd experienced the same thing. However, she had noticed that when she started indulging in swearing and foul talk ...it seemed to give those people around her permission to do the same...and it became a slippery slope where the behavior and what was "acceptable" became increasingly worse with all parties involved. I've noticed it too...in other areas of my life, when unsavory things are allowed to become part of a relationship...the boundary is broken and we are, in turn, treated in less respectful ways.
Another example of that came to me this morning. I was remembering when my husband went on a trip with other ROTC folks in college. It was mixed company on this bus, men and women, and he was offended by the way the other guys were talking in front of the women. His idea of how a gentleman should behave in front of a lady didn’t mesh well with their crude talk and inappropriate joking. He spoke up…and the women were surprised and thanked him. However, later on, these same women indulged in crude joking and swearing. The boundary was broken. He saw no point in saying anything else to protect or defend them.
Several days after that conversation with my friend, I realized that this was another perspective at which we can approach the Scripture verse commonly referred to as “The Golden Rule.” When I remembered these words of Christ…and realized how closely they apply to this situation, I felt like I had stumbled over a pile of gold in the dark. : ) It was there all the time…and it’s value has no limits…but I had never looked at it in this light before.
“In everything do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12
It’s one of those “DUH!” moments…where you smack your head and wonder why you never saw that before. : )
This is a two way street. If we want people to treat us with respect and dignity…we need to treat them and ourselves likewise.
When we blur those lines of decency, we give people permission to cross them. There is no safety when boundaries are broken and left in disrepair. But there is always hope and help available to us. We can look to our Creator for guidance on how to repair our broken bits…fix the boundaries that need to be fixed…and reclaim our dignity and respect that was originally planned for us to enjoy.
I love watching my “Daddy” at His restoration work! : )