3 Monkeys

See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil 

We’ve all seen the image of monkeys covering their eyes, ears and mouths – an old Japanese saying of wisdom. But, what is the connection between these apes and the celebration of Christmas?

This is a time of year where families come together – an opportunity to spend time with those most near and dear to us. It’s also a time, in the name of celebration, where extended family, in-laws and friends that we may have consciously placed at a distance throughout the year, also come together. This can create some very real, mutually felt, friction between relationships. For that reason, we feel like there’s limited options on how to behave. 

  1. We choose not to go, and thereby maintain the distance we’ve held all year, but also miss out on spending time with those we wanted to see.
  2. We choose to confront the person/people who grate on us, there by standing up for ourselves but also possibly creating memories others would rather have not experienced at Christmas.
  3. We choose to tolerate whatever may come in the name of Christmas Cheer.

This third option has become elevated as the most appropriate and the most charitable option, and in many ways it is. It’s entirely charitable to take a comment that feels hurtful and in the name of love turn the other cheek rather than retaliate. However, when we continue to allow these comments to come with no repercussion or holding of standards, we’re no longer being charitable but instead accepting hurtful words and behaviour as appropriate simply because of the season.   

What we accept as appropriate eventually becomes the new normal – BUT – there are also many things we wouldn’t ordinarily accept. That aunty that wants to drill you for remaining single, OR that cousin that wants to hook you up with someone he spotted at the gym. The in-laws who refuse to acknowledge the other in-laws, and the grown nieces and nephews that drink to excess. Your parents who tell you to drop your boundaries in the name of family, and your siblings who keep pouring you another drink after you’ve said no thanks.  None of these are ok, and where we might be more vigilant throughout the year, we make ‘It’s Christmas’ the excuse for accepting what is lower than our usual standard. We drop our vigilance. 

That’s where these 3 apes come in. Christmas is a time to be joyful and cheery, but it’s not a time to drop our standards, morals, or convictions in order to fit in for a day. In fact, the opposite is true. This is a time to be an even better witness. If we don’t know how to have fun whilst upholding our standard and convictions, then we haven’t really learned how to enjoy yourselves, we remain chained to the very things that aren’t good for us and those around us to provide us entertainment. 

This is not the season to turn a blind eye to the things that we disagree with, or don’t align with our values. Its possibly also not the season to roll up our sleeves to battle those who grate on us, BUT it is a season to be aware, and cautious of the impact that these challenging situations have on us. So take stock of what we’re seeing, hearing and tempted to speak this Christmas, because although we may be more tolerant in the name of love, we are not immune to the impacts of what remains unhealthy. 

Our Lord and Saviour came as a vulnerable baby on this earth, and He desires us to remain free to love God and neighbour whole heartedly. To do that well, means taking up and holding up His standard for love in season and out of season. So, Christian, go and love like Christ this Christmas. 

Stina Constantine
Stina was born and raised a Norwegian and completed her Bachelor of Psychology and Master of Social Work in Australia. She is a Family & Relationship Counsellor (individuals, couples and children), and the former Young Female City Ambassador (Miss Wagga Wagga 2019) for Wagga Wagga, NSW. Stina also works with separated families and supporting TAFE NSW Students through their Education.

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