As I write this, my kids are running amok at the local “BouncyLand” and a morbidly-obese woman beside me is downing a Jack-In-The-Box burger and fries. The irony is not lost on me — she’s devouring 900 calories for a mid-morning snack while her kids go and burn about 900 calories bouncing all over the place for two hours. “If only she could do for herself what she’s doing for her children,” I think to myself. And yet I’m pretty confident that those poor kids also downed some toxic food on the ride over. Sadly, statistics dictate that their fate is no better than their mother’s.
What actually makes me feel worse, is that I’m finding myself less and less sympathetic for the obesity that surrounds me here in North America. The more I take control of my own habits and lifestyle, the more it saddens me to think that everyone else can do the same — but they’re not.
And yet we know that people don’t balloon to 300+ pounds without a reason. Just like most of us don’t wake up in the morning and think “today I am going to be mean to my spouse”, I’m sure none of us wake up and think “today I’m going to sabotage my health”. And yet how many days have you gone to bed knowing that you’ve done just that? Most times, the mistreatment is a result of an underlying emotional problem which brings us further and further into the pit of complacency as time goes on. A pit full of excuses. “He was mean to me first”, “what’s the harm in a few donuts?”, the list goes on.
And so I’m torn — do I have grace for the obese lady beside me, knowing that I could very easily be in her shoes? Or, does the entire situation feed my increasing desire to change not just my own life, but other people’s lives, too? Somehow I don’t think you can effectively have one without the other.
This is not just about weight, either. You can apply this to every area of our lives. Where do you struggle to have grace?