I was in a restaurant a few weeks back and there were a group of kids at the restaurant. The kids were there as a part of a group that was having some kind of event (girl scouts, Brownies, or something like that). We were in the restaurant for about 45 minutes as a family. The entire time we were there the kids from this group were running around the joint. On three occasions I saw a kid run into an adult that was carrying food and drinks and caused a spill. The kids were loud and disruptive. Now I have 2 little kids and we have been “the group” at many a public places. So my goal is not to crush these kids or these parents. But as I watched this, I thought their lack of awareness of their actions and how it impacts those around them is a sign of immaturity. And to be honest, somewhat age appropriate immaturity.
But something hit me as I reflected on this. For disciples of Jesus, our awareness and sensitivity (or lack of these) to those in a room reflects our maturity level. There are times to have that talk or press that question, but there are times not to. Does that environment you are in call for more restrained behavior or for you to be more outgoing? Are you aware that your actions could be confusing someone about who God is or helping them? Here are some things to consider regarding our awareness in various environments….
- Should politics be avoided or handled differently based on this environment?
- How should alcohol be engaged based on who is around?
- Am I looking for who is being left out in conversation and pursuing them?
- Are these the right people to criticize tatoos or speak so aggressively against something like abortion with? (Do I know where they are and where they have been?)
- Have I considered what kind of trial or pain they may recently have gone through?
- Is the nature of the environment making others in the group feel uncomfortable?