There are people that we love to hate. Sometimes we dislike those people so much that we also enjoy seeing them fail. Beyond this, it makes us angry when they succeed.
Consider the case of LeBron James, who America reviled for not winning a championship, and then despised for leaving his team for a championship, and then finally rooted against as he won a championship.
You non-sports types remember how we loved Jessica Simpson, rooted for her to get married, then found guilty pleasure in her divorce, and took secret delight in her obesity.
I don’t need to bring up Tom Cruise or John Mayer do I?
Most of us believe that we don’t judge people. I like to think that I’m especially open-minded; but the truth about all of us is revealed when we watch the news though, isn’t it?
How we respond, internally or externally, to the news of other people’s profit or misfortune reveals whether or not we really believe in, or want the best for, other people.
But what about those situations where we are actually setting people up for failure?
I’m not talking about celebrities anymore, but people that we know and interact with on a daily basis. Maybe we work with them, attend school with them, or are even related to them.
You know what I’m talking about right?
I’m talking about those situations where allow our prejudice against someone to dictate how we act around them. With these people we prepare ourselves to invalidate their statements or ignore their actions and in doing this we set them up to fail, not because we make them do the wrong thing, but because we don’t give them the opportunity to do the right thing.
Sometimes we go so far as to use their track record to excuse our own misbehavior and pre-judgement.
The Bible tells a story about a man who did the very things that we do. His name was Abram.
Abram had a wife who was hotter than the fourth of July, and twice in his life he moved to a land where he was sure that the foreigners would kill him and take her away.
To keep himself alive, he told the people that she was his sister. In both instances the king of the foreigners asked to marry Abram’s “sister”. In both scenario’s God brought out the truth and guess what? The foreign kings behaved responsibly and returned Abram’s wife to him.
Both kings experienced Abram’s prejudice, but behaved righteously when given the chance.
Guess who didn’t?
“When you judge another, you do not define them. You define yourself” – Wayne Dyer
What self-help guru Dr. Dyer said well in the mid 1990′s is actually a reflection of what Jesus said around 32 A.D.; “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
In the end, how we set others up for success is a fairly accurate measurement of a heart that follows after Christ. After all, isn’t that what he did when he came to an earth filled with his enemies, gave us a chance to live in his kingdom, and then died to give us the power to do what we had twice failed in?
We don’t have to trust people,
In fact there are some people with a history that we steer clear of…
But we should always give people the chance to do what is right.
We don’t have to root for people,
In fact some people are headed for failure…
But we don’t have to indulge, or play a role in, their demise.