We recently had our young Australian Shepherd spayed. And, yes, she came home with the “cone of shame”. If you haven’t heard that term, you probably haven’t been into the animated Pixar movies, especially the one entitled, “UP!”. I leave you to google that – suffice it to say, it’s one of my favorites.
When we picked up Bella, I watched her navigate – or attempt to navigate the stairs, the house, and even just walking through the living room. At first she didn’t want to do anything. She just stood there with her head down as if she knew what to do but just didn’t want to do it. Eventually she overcame that and attempted the stairs. The cone caught on the steps, the door and every thing she got close to. She would try to come up to us and end up jamming the cone into our leg as she stood there with a “What!??!?” kind of look on her face. Within hours she was navigating the house fine, going up and down stairs fine and acting as if nothing was really different at all in life. It was as if she just accepted the blindspots as being natural to life.
Christians are a lot like Bella wearing that cone of shame. We grab onto an idea or “belief” or maybe even call it a “conviction” and put it out there for everyone to see. We might have some people question it from time to time, and at first it will be awkward and we’ll stand there with our heads down, trying to process it all. Eventually it will become more familiar to us and we’ll just barge into people’s lives, hammering them with our cone of shame and act surprised when they react in dazed and injured. “What?!?!?” will be our familiar refrain. We’ll eventually get so used to our blindspots and psuedo-convictions that we’ll just act like everyone else is odd and we’re the only “normal” one in the room. We’ll totally ignore our blindspots, and others, in the process. And the damage will continue.
But there is hope! For Bella, it will come in 10-14 days. Her sutures will come out and she’ll be free to run and play and take her former role in our family. For Christians, there too is hope. It comes with the balm of God’s word, His Spirit opening our eyes to Truth. It will come in the compassionate and humble seeking of forgiveness. In the contrite desire to heal and not to hurt. It will be awkward at first. The cone provides a sense of comfort, an inability to really notice the pain around you and the false sense of security in thinking your ways are best. And, if you refuse to see Truth, you’ll retain that cone of shame. Inside the cone you may think you are the most important person in your world, but outside your cone are hundreds of people recognizing it for what it truly is. A cone of shame.