I’ll never forget it. The day that I realized that I was FAT! If you’ve never been there, stop and thank God, right now. I wasn’t always overweight. As a matter of fact, I was a good athlete, an active kid and never had to shop in what used to be called the “chunky department.” By the way, the older I get, the better I think I was! Now we use terms like “extended sizing.” It sounds so much better unless you need to extend your size!
But this isn’t a lesson on weight, health, exercise, or diet. Today’s writing is a short thought on how we talk to folks about whatever their insecurities or challenges might be. I cannot count the times that someone felt the necessity to refer to me as “Big Guy or Big Boy.” I love this greeting, “well you haven’t missed any meals, have you?”. I know what it’s like for folks to watch you coming down the aisle of a plane (in sardine class) and virtually hear them praying, “Dear Lord, please don’t let him sit next to me.” I had a guy find me one Sunday after preaching and was passionate when he told me that I looked even fatter on the big screens in our Worship Center. Last week, a well-meaning church member found the only overweight coach on the Georgia Bulldogs sidelines, grabbed a screen shot of the coach and posted it on FB as “Chuck Allen, Pastor of Sugar Hill Church and Offensive Coordinator of the Georgia Bulldogs.” Just blessed my heart. I’ve lost close to 70 pounds over the past two years but have a long way to go. I can promise you, like most folks, I do not need any reminders of my insecurities.
My point is this. All the teasing and well-meaning encouragement cannot be heard if all you offer is something that stings. Every person I know has some measure of insecurity. Maybe it’s social status, education, money, organizational chart location, or weight. Maybe it’s receding hairlines, job displacement, or any number of emotional or mental challenges. Here’s a thought – Stop telling everybody that has something you don’t have what they have!
We can influence with encouragement, or we can tear down with sarcasm. We can make the world better with a positive word, or join the fray, get in line and bash somebody else. We often have no idea what is going on in someone else’s life. So before we throw out a line that’s cute or humorous (to you), ask yourself this question – Would I want them to call out whatever my insecurity or challenge is? Just be kind. It’s a lot more fun and a great deal more encouraging.
Anybody can care less, or be rudely cute. Why be anybody?