When with friends, we have a habit to critique the heck out of people outside our cliques.
Don't we?
We're so trained to look for flaws in things, others, and ourselves.
We all seem driven to point out what's wrong with everyone and everything.
This brings us as to why we do this.
Why do we concentrate on these things?
So many of us pride ourselves on being open minded.
But if we talk to people outside our comfort zones, we find the inconsistencies within them and ourselves, inconsistencies related to "open mindedness."
We all seem to have a different definition of open mindedness.
The prevalent definition for open mindedness these days is the idea that all ideas, religions, and convictions are relative.

When using the system of measurement that defines itself as a logical system of measurement, philosophy, this statement holds true, at least when using this standard of measurement.

We are very critical of each other. I'm not talking necessarily about sexual activities. I'm talking about treating others differently, dodging them, or talking down to them simply because they aren't like us. We have so many derrogatory putdowns for one another. For instance, names like slacker, emo, religious, liberal, conservative, poor, rich, American, Canadian, European, Native American, black, white, hispanic, asian, middle eastern, smart, idiot, slow, loser, jerk, word for "female dog," word for "born outside wedlock," fundamentalist/fundy, evangelical, apostate, agnostic, left winger, right winger, anarchist, communist, queer, homophobe, and word for the rectum. Yeah, I know. Silly... Crude... But true.

We sometimes are even angry at our family and parents and use these types of terms. We are angry many times that we are their kids. But you know, if they had waited, married someone else, or whatever, then you wouldn't be you, I wouldn't be me. I know all the ins and outs of fate but we are us because of genetics and timing. We wouldn't be us without our parents. Another completely different person would be around if our parents didn't choose each other and the timing was critical. Wish all you want about having different folks but you wouldn't exist without them. Life is a gift. Be appreciative.

The paths we've walked have brought us to where we are now. Instead of holding grudges for what we've endured in our lives, let go of the hate and be thankful for all you have seen. Oh yes I know. We are affected by people's bad choices and our own. Frogiveness is another key factor in the mix. I know that it is hard for us all, but it will be another step in our maturing. Yes, it's possible for people of any age to mature in their thinking. Forgiveness, kindness, self control, meekness, and love are definite signs of maturity.

Back to picking out and exposing flaws, we can retrain our minds. It is possible for us to begin focusing more on people's positive qualities and at times help pull those qualities to the surface.

We don't have to dodge people or put them down simply because they don't meet our personal patterns of acceptability.

At schools, college, in stores, at church, and with family, I do my utmost to treat everyone the same. I have through the Lord's help begun to train myself to not constantly focus on the bad. Dude, it's totally gonna be a struggle. But you know, God has to do this sort of thing. God doesn't focus on the bad. Here's what I mean... God doesn't shut people off and shut people out because of a flaw in their personality. He doesn't close the door because of race, gender, attitude, or whatever. I mean, He hates sin totally but He doesn't stop pursuing us or doesn't stop pursuing good in us when we have all the flaws, junk, attitudes, and unacceptableness in our lives.

What if... What if we could make the same unwavering efforts. Yeah I know people will try to walk all over us at times. I know people take advantage. I know! It's called flaws! But, don't you want them to escape the eternal death penalty?

Maybe our first step in stopping picking people apart is to stop complaining. The scripture calls this "murmuring." Don't you love to be around a complainer? Aren't they so fun? Don't you so look forward to being with them everyday? Yeah. I was focusing on a flaw again. I know.

But you see, we recognize the flaw now. Recognizing particular flaws in us and asking the Lord to help us overcome those flaws or keep those flaws in check will help us to help someone else. What if recognizing and implementing changes to our person will when other people to Christ? Don't you want to be an effective living road sign on the path to eternity?

Jeremy Brown 2007

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