The Airplane Mask Rule
I was speaking with Kristin several weeks ago about a topic having to do with people who are judgmental about others. As is usual during conversations with her, she comes up with something innocent, and funny, that perfectly illustrates the point that she is trying to make.
Now remember, this is our oldest daughter, the one who most of the time is laughing and having a great time, other than earlier this year when she and her three boys suffered through a horrendous divorce that was difficult for them as well as the rest of our family. It started out as a pretty rough year.
And Kristin has always fancied herself something of a sage – stuff she says just happens to resonate with folks in a way than transcends the normal. For example, when she was a young girl, she wanted to write children’s books and actually tried to get one published, entitled, “The Squirrel Family Acorn.” It was about a family and although I can’t remember the details, I am sure that she could recite it cover to cover if you asked her to. In fact, it really bothered her that it was never published, but who knows, maybe some day it will be.
And then there was the time that she was going to write a book about people who didn’t return their carts to the cart corrals in the shopping center parking lots. This idea was hatched after Kristin came to the conclusion that people who didn’t return their carts were usually lazy and expected other people to do the work for them. In fact, she went on to pontificate that those people drove up the cost of groceries for all of us, and she’s right. Although I was never one to leave my cart rolling around and banging into cars, you can bet that I always make sure that I return my cart to the corral in the parking lot, or better yet, back into the store. To this day, every time I buy groceries, I think of Kristin’s book and how I don’t want to be a negative illustration…
This year, after the divorce and all the painful things that she and the kids have gone through, Kristin is thinking about writing another book. This one is called, “The Comeback Kiki.” It’s about the journey that she has travelled and how there is life on the other side of a marriage dissolution. Who knows if it will ever see the light of day, but she is pretty amped up about women who unwillingly go through divorce and how they can face financial ruin if they don’t have a great support group around them.
So you get the idea about how she thinks. Big on social causes and making sure that justice prevails. Anyway, as I started out saying at the top of this post, Kristin and I were speaking about something and while we were talking, she mentioned something about the “Airplane Mask Rule.” Of course, I was taken a little by surprise and wanted to know what she was talking about. She said that people worried too much about each other’s business and that we should all think more about how they do things on planes.
In other words, and we all know this from the safety instructions we receive each time we board a plane, in the event of an air emergency, you are to put your own mask on before you worry about anybody else. This ensures that you won’t pass out and that you will be of assistance to others after you have followed the proper procedure about taking care of yourself. Taking this from the airliner to everyday life, we are to worry about the things we are supposed to do before we start passing judgement on anybody else. Like most things Kristin says, I started laughing but I had to admit that she had a valid point.
The Bible has a verse that talks about similar things. Tonight’s verse is from Luke 6:41-42, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” It’s so true, isn’t it? We worry about everybody else when we have our own issues to deal with.
My encouragement this evening is to let you know that God stands ready to help you remove the plank from your own eye. After all, we all have them and sometimes it is easier to look toward others rather than doing the work we should be doing on our own behavior. My prayer is that it won’t be too painful to go through the exercise of working on ourselves before we start correcting the attitudes and behaviors of other. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…