What I'm Reading Today: Numbers 3-5
I was raised in a wonderful household who – let's face it – had it quirks (just like every other household). One of the things my father (who was of Norwegian descent) and mother (who was of German descent) taught me very subtly was that if I had an issue with someone I should never be too direct. I should always begin by dropping hints to the other person. I should never tell the other person exactly what's wrong. That was considered rude! Instead, I should be patient and allow time for the other person to pick up on the hint I dropped and then make the necessary changes to right the situation. That's how life was supposed to work.
If I loaned someone some money, for instance, and they forgot to pay me back; the next time I was around the person I could say something like, "Do you want to grab a burger at Red Robin's. Oh, I would love to but money is really tight right now so I guess I'll have to take a rain check."
The other person was expected to make the connection between my statement and the fact that they forgot to repay me. Then the other party would repay me.
While I know my parents' intentions were good, their way of being has gotten me in trouble more times that I can count. It also helped make each of their four kids prone toward passive aggressiveness. This is a problem I'm still working hard to rectify 25 years after leaving their home.
So where do many folks like my parents pick up this approach to problem solving?
One of the sources would be in passages like today's from Numbers. In that passage we are given a long set of instructions that explains how a man (and yes, the passage only addresses situations involving a wronged man!) is supposed to come to terms with his suspicion that his wife has cheated on him.
In a healthy relationship, the individual would ask his or her spouse (or perhaps another party who is involved) what happened. While there is a chance your spouse may lie, at least you have put responsibility for truth telling where it belongs: with the involved parties.
Instead of taking such a direct approach, however, today's passage advocates for a ritual that is expected to reveal the truth for the parties involved.
All of this makes me wonder where you are at with all of this. Are you someone who is able to directly engage issues and deal with the concerns at hand, or are you someone who stands back and hopes to influence outcomes indirectly? Instead answering that question in your mind, watch yourself throughout the course of the day. Let your actions today answer the question for you.
Til next time …