One of my favorite things to do is attend outdoor concerts. I especially like one of the amphitheaters in Atlanta that allows concert-goers to bring their own food and drinks. They host an old-school concert series which lends to a mature crowd. It’s just grown folks having fun.
My only complaint is that when the sun sets, cigarette smokers no longer go to the designated smoking areas and marijuana smokers pull out their stash and join in. I have never been a smoker. In fact, I often get headaches from the smell of smoke. So, to enjoy the concert and to prevent a headache, I try to avoid sitting near the smokers.
The morning after the concerts, I hate the sound of my alarm. But I have a rule: if I go out on Saturday night, I still have to get up and attend church on Sunday morning, including serving at the altar. No excuses! So this particular morning, I rolled out of bed, completed my morning routine and headed to church.
One of the ways I serve in my church is through the prayer ministry. After service, prayer ministers line the altar and pray for anyone who comes up for prayer. That morning as I prayed for the first person, the smell of marijuana attacked my senses. I thought to myself, “Did this person smoke marijuana for breakfast?” The more time I spent with the person, the more intense the smell became. It was probably amplified because of my sensitivity to the smell of smoke. Nonetheless, I continued to pray and encourage the person.
After the person had walked away, the smell still lingered. It wasn’t until I reached down for my handbag and got a whiff of my hair that I realized, it wasn’t the other person— It was me. I could only imagine what the person I prayed for must have thought. SMH
Surely, this was not the only time I have accused someone when I myself was the culprit. It is so easy to point the finger at others without ever examining myself. But self-examination gives me the opportunity to recognize, where I have grown from and where I have yet to grow to. It gives me the opportunity to be honest with myself.
Not only that, self-examination also helps me to extend grace to others because it is my personal reminder that I have weaknesses and struggles too. And while I might not have the same personal challenges as the next person, I still have challenges that I have yet to overcome. We all do.
While I would love to say that I always examine myself before outwardly pointing the finger, that would be a lie. But I can say that I am more aware that the stench I smell just might be coming from me.