Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Am That Guy!

Cindy and I needed to make a trip to the Midwest a few days ago. We were emotionally and physically drained. By some great fortune we were bumped up to first class on the Atlanta leg back to Seattle. It was a rare treat for us. Everything was perfect…except for the obnoxiously loud guy who was sitting right behind me. It was like he was speaking the volume of the public address system right in my ear! Every time he spoke I looked at Cindy with an irritated look. I debated about doing the “head turn” or if it got worse to do the head turn with “the look.” I even considered the nuclear strike of confrontation, to get out of my seat and tell the gentleman, “My wife is feeling sick, and noise is magnified for her, would you mind talking a little softer?” As it turns out that wasn’t necessary. The guy had a beer and decided to sleep.

Cindy was doing an assignment for a leadership course she is taking and she pointed out to me that the things that irritate us most about others are the very qualities in ourselves that we don’t like. I protested to her, “No way. I am not that guy! I bend over backwards to accommodate others. The last thing I would do is to talk too loud in public. If I have a fault in this area, I am probably TOO considerate of others.”

Shortly after, I rented (for free as we were in First Class) a stand up comedian’s comedy special at my seat. He was funny. He was “laugh out loud funny.” By this time on our late night flight the lights were mostly off and most people were asleep. I couldn’t help myself. I laughed. Apparently I may have laughed loud enough to irritate a few overly sensitive, light-sleeping people. Cindy, who has been known to laugh really loud in movie theaters was even getting irritated at me (well, isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black!). She pointed out to me that I had just proven the theory I had previously denied. Isn’t it strange how we can see the faults in others but are so blind to see them in ourselves? Jesus said it something like this, “Take the log out of your own eye first. Then you will be able to see clearly and take the speck out of your brothers eye.” (See Matthew 7:1-5) The theory is right. Jesus is right and I was wrong about myself all along… “I am that guy!”

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