Des Moines: and keeping things in perspective

The crime rate in Des Moines, Iowa was boosted last month for an unlikely reason.

A local lady was hospitalised after being hit by a car in her own driveway.

She told investigating officers that she had been targeted by a man, the man whom she had earlier told to wash the dishes!

It seems a rather extreme measure to take to avoid a minor domestic chore.

But people have often got things out of perspective.

His advisers reported that when Jimmy Carter was U.S. President, he spent time fussing over the identity of those using the White House tennis courts, when the time and thought should have been devoted to more serious things.

Besides, any of us, when tired, can allow minor matters to irritate us. The Bible speaks of days when even the grasshopper becomes a burden (Ecclesiastes 12;5).

One dimension of Jesus’ struggle with the Pharisees was their obsession with trivial things and their neglect of major matters. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices...mint, dill, and cummin.

But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-- justice, mercy and faithfulness” (Matthew 23;23).

One secret for keeping things in perspective is to take a step back and look at the big picture.

By placing a coin close to the eye, we can effectively shut out the sunshine; likewise, hugging a grievance close can deny us a vision of the big picture.

The great Dr. Samuel Johnson used to manages his temporary frustrations by asking himself, “How important will this seem in twelve months time?”

For another thing, matters assume a truer perspective when Christian love comes into play.

Once we stop thinking about ourselves and our rights or entitlements, and consider how our views and attitudes might impact on others.

Love, Paul told us, always seeks the best interpretation. “Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking , it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1Corinthians 13; 5).

In our current flags and parades disputes, might we not be a little like the man in Des Moines?