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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Gift of Caring Less

In what areas of your life are your actions governed by fear of what others think? How could Jesus help you? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1348).

There's a saying something to the effect that your true character is most evident in what you do when no one is watching. I think most people to a greater or less extent differentiate between their private and public selves.  Sexuality is obviously an area where this is true and sex is typically seen as a private matter between the parties involved and not to be trumpeted as page-one news for the simple reason that doing "the act" is redeemed from sensationalism by the dignity of privacy.  A common example of a public act is eating – which we frequently do in public within the company of many others.

Given this, I am significantly governed by what other people think. The other evening I attended a birthday party for a friend of mine at Hooters. At one point, the waitresses came over to sing happy birthday for my friend.  They fixed white cone water cups in his mouth to look like a beak.  Then they had him flap menus with his arms extended. It was called a happy birthday chicken dance. My friend ate it up fully enjoying putting himself on display as a dancing chicken. In contrast, I would have been mortified to have been in his place. Everyone would have had a lot less fun laughing because I clearly would have been embarrassed and restrained.  In sum, it is ridiculous the extent to which I try to avoid being ridiculous – to the extent that I care what other people think. The irony, of course, is they would think more highly of me if I were less self-preoccupied, could simply relax and care less.  This would indicate good-natured generosity and genuine deference--a trait highly valued by Jesus.

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