I have found out something true about human nature while under the kitchen sink.
Like most Americans, we have two small wastebaskets under our kitchen sink — one for recycled waste and the other for regular trash and garbage. Because space is limited in this house, they are relatively small wastebaskets that both have to be emptied almost every day. We line them both with plastic bags — tall kitchen size, though they are twice the size needed.
More often than not, it seems, those bags are full to the brim, and then some. The challenge is how much stuff you can cram in there before the milk carton or the Coke can you’re trying shove in there puts it over the top and you have to be the one to pull out the plastic bag, tie it off, set it outside to go to the large trash bins, and then line the wastebasket with a new plastic bag.
Here’s that bit about human nature I found out: each of us (meaning my wife and me) is firmly convinced the other is the last one to ever empty the trash. The other is the one who crammed in that last cereal box. “Why am I always the one to empty the trash?” is a question on both our minds. How can this be? Here are my guesses:
1. We never see the other empty the trash. We only know when we do it, so we assume we’re the only one doing it.
2. We hardly notice when the cans are empty; it seems like they are always full.
3. Ever since Adam and Eve we have had a propensity to blame someone else rather than take responsibility for wrongdoing. It’s always the other guy’s fault.
4. We have a tendency to focus on the bad and not the good. We are far more likely to be annoyed that the wastebaskets are full than to be thankful that they are empty.
So what’s the conclusion for this observation? Maybe we can all be more aware of our tendency to blame others and get about the business of doing what needs to be done and then forget about it. Get this: I’ve even been aware of reluctantly emptying the trash because I won’t get any credit for it since my wife only notices when it’s full. How sick is that? Am I in that much need of attention?
Love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5). And as far as “rights” go, it’s best to notice everyone else’s, and forget your own.