Wonderful but Painful Opportunities for Spiritual Growth

A very loving Christian friend of mine with many tattoos related the following story about judgement:

“Had an interesting experience in subway today...a little boy...5 or 6 came up to me and starting talking about my tattoos...just innocent and childlike curiosity. His mom comes up...grabs his arm and pulls him away and says...not whispers..."we don’t talk to people like that". Then she turned and glared at me. I was stunned...and angry...very angry.... I ended up leaving. I am angrier at what she is teaching her son...not what she said about me so much...even though hurtful. I love people...I really do...but some people just suck...”

Here’s my response: “She doesn't know what she's doing.  Her behavior appears bad, but her intention was good. Just like our tattoos send a message filtered by the seers' experiences and perceptions (miseducation), it's how we respond is what people learn from (especially children).  Maybe God will show her an opportunity where she realizes the errors of her ways.

Miles of smiles with trials (Moody Blues Fans might recognize that line).  Yet I feel your pain.  When my smiles are misinterpreted as being overly friendly or inauthentic, I realize I am not their problem and they are not my problem.  When a rape victim recoils at my offer of a hug (I always ask permission first), I don't blame them.  Yes, sometimes it hurts when I open my heart and someone shits on the moment with their projection of pain, but I take it as another wonderful opportunity for spiritual growth (but I might privately shed some Holy Water Tears...even Jesus cried in Gethsemane). 

I'm sorry that happened, brother.  Come to think of it, I used to be an unapologetic racist.  When I gave a black minister a dose of my poison because he had a white wife, he didn't get mad at me.  A little while later, maybe an hour, I heard Jesus say in no uncertain terms, "Why have their prayers come before me because of YOU?"  UGH.  Before that, I LITERALLY believed prayer couldn't get above the top of a black man's head.  I was shown the error of my ways and repented. 

We all fall short in some area or other.  I don't know, somehow, I'm just trying to send you some peace.”