When did we start putting people in boxes?
We look at one behavior expressed in the entire lifetime of an individual that we have never met personally, and as a result, put them in a labeled box. We close the lid, put it away in the basement of our mind, and feel pretty good about ourselves, as though we have done a service to all humanity and should be thanked for it. We have simple-mindedly simplified the human condition. How very nice and tidy it is now! How very unchallenged we can be, in our existence that is uncluttered with dissenting opinions!
We don’t even have that many boxes to choose from. Just a few.
But that one person will fit, at least according to us, entirely in that box.
I wonder, if we examined our own behavior over the course of our lifetime, what box would we be in? We can’t even remember what we have done in our lifetime. Certainly we would pick our most shining moments? Times when we sacrificed, excelled, succeeded, and shined above all?
Surely we would not place ourselves in a box labeled with our own prejudices, our dirty secrets, our shame, our dysfunction, our weakness. Surely not.
Yet we know the truth about ourselves. We know that we aren’t able to be presented in a gift-wrapped, bow topped box. We know that we are many, many boxes, and if we are completely honest, we are a basement full of bad boxes before we are three tiny gift boxes.
We are selfish takers. We are worried about us, about our lifestyle and opinions being challenged, our comfort, about losing our right to self.
And so we take others and place them in boxes, because then we can feel much, much better about our own boxes. We are even willing to dig up the literal boxes of our forefathers, just to place them in a different box and bury them for good, throwing good and bad in the same box, burying it deep, and labeling it as bad, final, over.
You know, there are really only two people in history who were able to be relegated to a single box.
The first one is Jesus. He is in one box labeled “GOOD”. He is the only completely, perfectly good human being to ever touch this earth.
The second one is Satan. He is bad. Always bad, and in the bad box. He is against the good. Jesus (the Good One) said that he is a thief, a liar, and a destroyer. He is consistently so.
You and I? Other than the fact that we were made in the image of God, we don’t have any claim to the Good Box. We are in the bad box.
Every. Single. One. Of. Us.
There are no black robes and gavels in the bad box. We are like children, running around in imaginary play, judging one another by a different standard than the one we apply to ourselves. We are largely unaware of our black box residence, and the wonderful work we do for its main resident.
And the Good Box? Well, the man in the Good Box is different. He does have a robe and a gavel. But He looks at the bad box, and feels an overwhelming amount of love for the people stuck in it. In fact He died for the opportunity to. . . . .
Rescue those bad people (you AND me) in the bad box, and let them be in His box.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”---- direct quote from the man in the Good Box.
Apply the same forgiving, understanding, merciful standard to ALL OTHER HUMAN BEINGS as you do for yourself.
Can you even imagine?
Instead of putting people in boxes,
Start thinking about which box YOU are in.