Monday, February 28, 2011

The Burn Rule


People are tricky.

For years I lived by the rule of thumb: "Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me."

And, truth be told, I made it a custom to rarely let the ladder happen. 

Oh it did from time to time... and when it did, I'd give myself a stern talking to... 

I mean they had shown me their true colors and yet I let my guard down... it was my fault really. 

Some people just should be trusted. I need to wise up on these matters... and I would build another wall.

If someone disappointed me, my solution was to lick my wounds and the adjust my expectations of them.

If someone lied to me. I was done.

If someone hurt me intentionally. I was done.

If someone betrayed me. I was done.

I felt that life was short and I wanted to fill it with the people who love and respect me...

Ahh respect... my cornerstone. Nothing gets me more agitated than disrespect. 

But lately, I have been think a lot about Christ. And about God.... about the folks they chose to fill their lives and Word with...

Jesus chose 12 (or technically 13, I suppose) humans to hang with while on this earth. 


Now what blows my mind is that Jesus knows what kind of character these folks have... one would think that he would have chosen those with pristine character...yet, we all know about Judas...

Think about it. Jesus chose Judas. Chose him--knowing that in the end he would betray him. He spent his days with him. Of all the people to have in his inner circle, and he chose Judas. I can imagine they even had some good moments. Yet, the whole time, Jesus knew what this dude would eventually do... the ultimate betrayal and then ultimately kill himself. Can you imagine how heart breaking that must have been.

And, to a lesser degree, what about Peter? Dude lies about Jesus after pledging to him that he would never do such a thing... This from a man that Jesus calls a "Rock"

It had to be frustrating that James and John were a bit into self-promotion with that whole right and left seat bit... while Jesus was trying to show the world a completely different way of life.

And what about everyone falling asleep despite his asking that they remain awake as he prepares to take on the most difficult time of his life that will result in the salvation of the world?

Not to mention the fact that he made that ultimate sacrifice after spending years on this earth with all the disappointment and imperfection that is the human race.

From an outside view, it might appear that he was pretty lousy at picking friends... ya know from the burn rule...

It is pretty clear to me that Jesus was viewing the world from a place of love. He wasn't interested in self protection. I am in wonder after all these years that I am finding a message of friendship and love in stories that I have heard a million times.

And, when I think about it... his choosing sounds very familiar to the God of the Old Testament that chose a rag-tag bunch of folks who were far from perfect to interact and engage love.

I guess my point centers around this:

John 13:34-35
   34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Love one another.

That kind of rocks my burn rule's world...

Then, if that doesn't clarify the matter... he clears things up with this little number.

Matthew 18:21-22 
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."

Man. That is rough. How on earth am I suppose to protect myself in these kinds of conditions?

I guess the point God has been tugging at me lately with is that I'm not very good at being a protector and perhaps I ought to leave that to the pro... ya know, him.

Ya see, despite the fact that I have been oh, so wise and oh, so diligent in building all these protective walls-- the hurt still got in... and yet it was successful at keeping a lot of people out.

I am not really sure how to fully proceed at this point, but I am glad that he is still working on me...

I will close with a note about the Oscars... of all things... ha!

I am not a huge Oscars fan, but from time to time I do watch. I don't particularly care for all the hoopla over the dresses and most of the time I haven't seen very many of the movies being celebrated.

Through twitter and facebook, I usually witness those that love the show to those that hate it and everything it stands on the other hand... I can take it or leave it.

This year however, the video of all those that have passed away really got my attention. I actually found myself oddly with my hand over my heart and a tear in my eye as I watched a screen full of folks--most of which I had no clue of who they were--flash by.

Some old, some young.

All gone.

All important to someone no doubt. Worlds for ever changed. In that moment my heart broke for them.

Later, feeling a little silly, I got to thinking about why that got to me so much. I think it was because for a moment I just sat an looked at their humanity. Not the dress she was wearing or the bad example he was setting. Nope. I was caught up in something entirely different.

Her smile.

His eyes.

Her gift.

His love.

Her voice.

The way she touched another's life.

What he meant to her.

And, I guess I just wonder if that isn't at least in part how and why God puts up with us imperfect humans--looking past all of this dreadful mess we make of ourselves and seeing the beauty that lies within-- the beauty he put there.

So what are your thoughts on dealing with people?

Are you a burn rule person like me?

Or, have you found a way to live at peace with the human folk? ;)


  1. I think The Burn Rule would be a great name for a movie. The whole post, really...I think you could write a script based on it.

    But anyway, no, I don't live by the Burn Rule. I'm a glutton for punishment.

  2. Ouch! For the last couple of years God has been teaching me to live with more intentional vulnerability. It's been rewarding, but it's still hard. Then when someone is mean... Yeah, I tend to just walk away too. Self-preservation tends to have a lot of "self" in it!
    Good thoughts. I'll be chewing on this for a while, I think!

  3. I always envied you and your steadfastness to the burn rule. I have been told all my life that I have too big of a heart. And it has gotten me into many MANY painful situations. The burn rule in my life has always been more of a "burn me until I'm writhing in pain, then shame on me". I don't think that is the way to go either. Because, honestly...I am usually fighting mad by then and it isn't pretty. I hope to someday find the balance between being the harsh person I am when I snap and being a doormat.

  4. Depends on how close I am to the person what rule they get. I'm more leniate on those I love.

  5. This really made me think. I think I'm a burn rule person, though somethings I give more chances...but I usually have point where I'm just done.

    And I know I shouldn't be like that.