I once saw a guy driving down the interstate with a fully assembled trampoline tied to the back of his small truck. I remember the feeling of humor but also condescension as I thought to myself, “What an idiot.” I even confirmed my judgment an hour later when I saw him on the side of the road with the trampoline blown off.
I think we all like to believe we don’t do things as glaringly stupid as trampoline man. Surely the stupidest decisions are being made by someone other than ourselves. I would never try to strap a fully assembled trampoline to my car, unless it was for the purpose of it falling off.
But maybe the really bad decisions we are making are just more subtle. Maybe as we move away from the type of decisions that would make a funny YouTube video, our shortcomings only become harder to pick out. The subtlety of our struggles only grows.
You don’t know what you don’t know. I’m probably equally unaware of my imperfections as trampoline man was of his own misconceptions of how to transport a trampoline. And he probably didn’t realize it until that trampoline had fallen off into the middle of traffic.
Sometimes it takes a significant, road blocking accident to open our eyes to our own stupidity.
The question is—do we show the same grace to the ones whose failures are out in the open, like a dramatic soap opera or burning car crash, as we expect to receive ourselves? Have you had your public failure yet, or are you praying your private ones never surface?
Honesty and humility. God, we need them both. Honesty—to grow and heal with those we’ve chosen to do life with. Humility—to know we are no different than the ones who have screwed up royally in front of everyone else.