Have you ever had this conversation with a friend:
“So Jamie, did you take the lipstick from my purse and forget to put it back?”
Jamie stares at you, her mouth agape. Anger, sadness, and surprise cross her face. “I’m offended you would even think that about me!” she finally says.
For a moment you don’t know what to say. This makes Jamie even more angry. “I mean come on now, how long have you known me? I’m insulted you would think that– or even feel you had to ask.”
If this were a conversation I had five years ago, my natural response would be to say, “Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that, I was just wondering…”
I would apologize. After all, how insensitive of me.
Jamie isn’t thinking clearly. Maybe you aren’t either.
I’ve been Jamie in the past. The girl who is shocked that a friend or lover or relative has the audacity to ask me something I think I would NEVER do. How rude.
But really, it’s Jamie that’s rude. She has effectively communicated to her friend that not only must the friend behave right, the person must think the right things about her. She must not question or inquire or wonder. In other words, it’s not okay to feel a certain way around or about Jamie.
It’s not okay to think that in the right set of circumstances, Jamie might behave in ways that she normally doesn’t.
We are all capable of tremendous good and tremendous evil. This is why we cannot judge one another. The criminal behind bars, the leader that’s just fallen off his pedestal into an illicit affair, even the pastor who’s been scandalized with abuse.
It is the human condition; to be capable of both wretched and saintly acts.
Jamie thinks she isn’t human. She thinks that someone who dares think ill of her must be ill.
But she is the one who is sick. Sick with arrogance. Sick with ignorance. Sick with closeminded delusions of her superhuman abilities.
Maybe she didn’t steal the lipstick. But she could have. We all might have.
Next time you see someone in a situation you would NEVER do, stop and think twice.
If you are Jamie, and your friend or spouse has questioned your motives or your character, don’t take it personally. Be the kind of person that is open to how others might feel. Be the kind of person that is easy to approach. Be the person that doesn’t get shaken by the thought that you might not be perfect.
And remember one last thing….
If you have a friend like Jamie who gets insulted at your questions or inquires, don’t succumb to the temptation of thinking…