After finishing with business talk, the conversation moved briefly to his family and how there was someone involved with one of his children about whom he was not fond. His condensed version was that this person is "liberal" because they have "tattoos". Of course, I am certain there is much more to the story than he can share in a brief phone call with a perfect stranger and since he has no way of knowing anything about me, I just smiled silently and let him talk. I said nothing, one way or the other, about tattoos or liberals and we finished the conversation with parting pleasantries of anticipating our Wednesday meeting at the courthouse.
Some might say I should have been outraged that he would make a judgement call about me based on my tattoo but we've never met so this isn't about me. Some people might suggest I wear a short-sleeved shirt to the hearing to make sure he saw my tattoo, giving him a tacit lesson in not judging people but, again, it's not about me. In fact, I was planning to wear a cute, new short-sleeved shirt that I had bought myself for my birthday. Instead, I'll find something long-sleeved. Why? Because I am him.
So many times in my life I have managed to let thoughtless words roll out of my mouth or off of my fingertips like red food dye, staining everything in it's path. You can't get that food dye off of anything, ever, just like you can't put careless words back in your head. I've been graced with much compassion by others in my on-going journey to taming my tongue and this is my opportunity to do the same for someone else. If this man saw my tattoo, yeah, he might judge me but, more likely, he'd be embarrassed by the whole conversation. Since I wasn't offended, I don't want him to be embarrassed. So, to honor Jesus, I'll wear long sleeves on Wednesday. I think that fits nicely with the second part of Micah 6:8, the "love mercy" part...don't you? It's what Jesus did; can I do any less?
And, for what it's worth, I still think I'm going to like this man ;-)