I remember being a kid and pointing at something, perhaps in the store. Other times I may have pointed at a person as if to say, “Look!” On most or all occasions, my mom did what most adults would do. She’d lower my hand and say, “Put your hand down” or “Stop pointing. That isn’t polite.”
At an early age, we learn that pointing (when not giving directions) may offend others. It’s just plain rude. People may get the impression that you’re talking about them in a bad way if they catch you pointing towards them. So, our parents teach us to not point.
We’re rebellious little creatures, and grow up and still do it. We point. And we get good at it. Instead of innocently pointing cute, toddler-sized fingers, we point through gossip or casting blame.
Gossip, casting blame, or simply highlighting others’ faults and failures to their hurt and for sport, is impolite. Pointing fingers never involves helping someone solve a problem. It never promotes healing. It only involves talking about that person just because, and encourages us to avoid our responsibility to God, ourselves, and to others.
Can we do better at being polite? Sure we can. There’s never an excuse for being rude. But being more polite would mean changing. For many of us, pointing fingers is like a bad drug; and we’re addicted. We just can’t say no to it.
It’s so easy to point fingers. Many times, we have something in common with the person we’re pointing our judgmental and critical fingers at. Their hiccup or flaw is usually our own. We see theirs crystal clear and it irks us like nobody’s business. I perceive a beam-mote situation here.
We can overcome pointing fingers by being honest and real with God and ourselves. If we are going to be pointing fingers, we should say, “I’m going to point the finger at myself.”
Sure it may hurt to “realize” you’re not the picture of perfection you convinced yourself you were. And it may sting to “discover” your good fruit isn’t all that good. Through hurts and stings, we can get our own beams out of our eyes. We can become better. Perhaps when we are able to see ourselves, deal with ourselves, and remove hypocrisy, we can go and help someone else—with no finger pointing included.
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