As I drove home to change my pants, I remembered one of my college psychology classes. The class was taught by Dr. Dave Skaer— pronounced like the word “scare.” Yep, I had a psych class taught by a guy named Dr. Scare. Spooky, huh?
One day in class, we discussed the concept of oops. In particular how the concept related to the way we treated other people. Dr. Skaer explained that most people were easier on themselves than they are on others.
He gave an example from his own marriage. His wife, while on the phone, had backed their car over their mailbox, damaging both the car and the mailbox. He was upset and ready to read her the riot act when he had a profound thought. What if I had backed over the mailbox? What would I have said? Oops.
We all have the tendency to let ourselves off the hook much easier than others. This has huge implications in our relationships, but it can be a neutron bomb in a marriage. (or Church)
(Take our little mustard calamity, for instance. There we were laughing, enjoying each other’s company, and bam— Bonnie carelessly shoots mustard on my slacks.)
Oh, it was an accident all right, but I’m of the opinion that most accidents can be avoided with a little forethought. In times past, I would have scolded her harshly, pointing out the grand inconvenience she’d just created for me. I would have reminded her that clothes cost money and that my slacks were probably ruined— blah, blah, blah.
Now, let’s assume I’d been sitting there by myself and spilled mustard on my pants. Most folks would not pitch a fit berating themselves for being stupid and ruining their clothes. Their most common response? My most common response? “Oops.”
Then I would wipe off my pants the best I could. I would finish my hot dog. Later, I would tell Bonnie that Mr. Nimblefingers dropped mustard all over his slacks. Que sera. She’d probably laugh at her klutz husband.
So, when Bonnie shot mustard on my pants and said “oops,” I reacted just as if I had done it myself. She apologized, helped me clean up, and we finished our lunch.
Afterward, I headed home for a quick wardrobe change. Consequently, there would be no arbitrary relationship fissure to be resolved later that evening. It took a while for me to integrate this ‘oops’ concept into my marriage, but it had already saved me substantial heartache. Thank you, Dr. Skaer. Wherever you are.
Moody, McMillian (2013-08-22). The Old Man and the Tea (Elmo Jenkins – Book Three) (Kindle Locations 496-507). OBT Bookz. Kindle Edition.
Although the above quote is from a novel, it has spiritual applications too. Matt 7:5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
In the church we are well known to shoot our wounded. We are quick to condemn.
Perhaps if we adopted the “Oops” philosophy we would strengthen our Churches.