On a scale of 1 to 10, how emphatic are you about grammar? I’m probably a 7. For instance, when I see somebody criticizing somebody else on a message board, and they write “Your Doing It Wrong”, I want to smack them. They’re the ones doing “Your/You’re” wrong, and they have no business criticizing someone else.
Of course, then I’m the one being critical. Level 7’s do that, sometimes.
This devotion is not about grammar, per se, although you’re free to email me with any corrections. It’s more about where that hypocritical need to correct others comes from. It rarely ends well. Here’s another example:
One day, as I was driving across town, I watched someone do the stupidest thing. This woman pulled her car up to a stop light and got into the left turn lane, on her way to Sonic. The problem? There was no turn lane! Instead, she had moved one lane too far over, right in the path of soon-to-be oncoming cars!
I couldn’t help but stare as I drove past. Who was this oblivious driver? Was she looking on her phone? How could somebody become so distracted that they would make a mistake like that? These thoughts occurred to me as I gawked from my car window…
and promptly ran the red light.
Oops. I didn’t hit anybody but it sure woke me up! I hate it when I do that. I get judgmental about someone else’s shortcomings and have conveniently overlooked my own. It’s not just me, is it? Surely you’ve done this too. This kind of hypocritical, hyper-critical behavior seems to be part of the human condition. But why? Here’s what Sigmund Freud has to say:
All those thoughts I mention above about this woman–she’s stupid, clueless, oblivious!–they described my own insecurities. I was guilty not just of inattentive driving, but also inattentive living! Maybe that’s why I’m quick to notice these behaviors in others. They’re aspects of my own life that I’ve struggled with. They represent the nagging voice in my own head saying, “Your Doing It Wrong”.
Jesus’ one-sentence take on this is even better than Freud’s: Stop looking for specks in other people’s eyes, and pay attention to the logs in your own eyes. Well said, sir. Point taken.
That intersection story happened nearly twenty years ago. Such a brief encounter, but such a vivid reminder for me. That woman will have long forgotten about the time she goofed up turning into the Sonic parking lot. I hold on to it as a reminder to keep my eyes on the road.
I like to think that my own “Your Doing It Wrong” outbursts have lessened as I’ve grown and learned. I think I’m doing…better, with lots of room for improvement. I don’t always succeed, but I try to speak well of others.
And speaking of speaking, my grammar uptightness level has gone down.
It’s good to be a 6.5
Have a great week,