Friday, August 1, 2014

Unspoken Rules and Casting Stones

I recently read  about trail etiquette in the hiking book that has led us astray one too many times. Apparently one of the unspoken "rules" of the trail is that downhill hikers should always yield to uphill hikers. That makes sense. I discovered why this past weekend when we encountered the large group of city hikers with their boom box. They all scrambled down the rock slope while we were in the middle of climbing up...uh, there's really no place for us to pull over...could we just get to the top please? But no, they all scrambled down in their flip flops and boom boxes and shaky legs. 

I couldn't really blame them. After all, I'd only just read that rule. They didn't even have the book. Heck, they didn't even have the right shoes!

The next day, we went to a Yankees game. There is, as you may know, an unspoken alternate merge "rule" of the road which also applies in crowded parking garages that most drivers adhere to. It was tedious and slow, but for the most part, the majority of drivers were courteous. Except for one. He came out of nowhere and just zipped around the corner and tried to get in front of me. Of course, I did the Christian thing..."Oooooh, no!" I yelled. He picked the wrong woman to cut off. "You have to wait your turn like everyone else!"  Of course he couldn't and certainly didn't want to hear me. But it sure made me feel better. And yes, I was successful at completely cutting him off. He needed to play nice and wait his turn and I took it upon myself to be his teacher.

I'm sort of a stickler for rules. I like them. I expect everyone to adhere to them. I don't like it when they don't. And I confess...I'm a tattletale. If someone isn't following the rules, I tell. I'm sorry. I can't seem to help it. I want them to get caught. My sister has told me stories of my tattling on her when we were kids. I don't remember. 

I even tell on myself. Case in point: One time I accidentally passed a school bus while it was dropping students off at a bus stop. I noticed the flashing lights as I was driving past the bus, and saw the bus driver yelling at me. "I'm sorry!" I yelled back, too late. I  almost called the police department to confess my crime. True story.

I'd make a great cop. No, I'd actually make a terrible cop. I'd never let anyone get away with anything. I'd also make a really good or a really bad inspector. I'd be fining people all kinds of money, picking out every flaw, never overlooking anything. No exceptions.

Nobody likes a bully, but nobody likes a tattletale either. These are unspoken rules. No one tells. Everyone keeps the secret; everyone takes the blame. It's some sort of code of honor. 

A bully sins. A tattletale points out that sin. Is it right for me to appoint myself as someone else's sin-pointer-outer? I am possibly a greater sinner by judging that person, and attempting to make myself an idol by becoming their "God." Jesus said, He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her (John 8:7). This was said to the teachers of the law and the Pharisees...the do-gooders, the rule-followers...the tattletales. 

The greatest thing a tattletale can do is offer acceptance. The sin may not be acceptable to me, but it is between the sinner and God. That person may not even be aware that what they are doing is wrong. God forbid it that I cast the first stone! May I be the first one to drop mine.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mary



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