It’s been on my mind lately that sometimes people are just cruel with their words and/or actions. We are judged so harshly for the things that we say (or don’t say) and the things we do (or don’t do). Why is that? Why do people feel they have the right to judge others? Why is it that a complete stranger can take one look at you and make a snap decision about what kind of person you are (for many of my friends, our parenting is generally what’s under attack). Where did we get this idea that we are so much wiser than everyone else, that we should have the authority to ridicule another person? Honestly, I don’t know.
If you’ve been the victim of a random act of rudeness, you know all too well how awful it makes you feel. First you get mad, and it takes all the strength you’ve got not to completely wail on your accuser. Then you feel hurt that someone would think so lowly of you. You wonder if the comments that were hurled your direction were true. Am I _______? a bad parent? a bad driver? fat? worthless? After you obsess over it for a while, you finally come to your senses and realize that your attacker is the one with the problem. Perhaps you even feel sorry for him (or her).
Being attacked by a stranger hurts, and is infuriating, but we get over because we know that we will never see that person again. He has no place our lives. BUT, what if the person you can never seem to please is someone who IS part of your life? What if you have gone round and round with that person, desperately trying to understand them, and have them understand you? What if you’ve failed? Then what? How do you get past the anger, sadness, confusion, hopelessness, fury? Do you keep putting yourself on the line hoping that this time the outcome will be different? Do you ignore the problems? Do you confront them – though you know that will only add another layer to the mess?
Hmm. I wish I knew. All I know is that I pray. I pray for patience. I pray for understanding. Mostly, though, I pray that I will always do the right thing; that I will always act in a Christian manner – even though I know it won’t be received that way. It will be received as an attack or a threat, when it clearly isn’t meant that way. Nonetheless, I keep trying to be the bigger person.
It’s exhausting trying to please someone who refuses to be pleased. However, Jesus is pleased when we love others enough to sacrifice our own feelings or pride to honor them. This is my saving grace – literally. Jesus knows my heart, even if others don’t. If I never convince them what truly motivates me, it doesn’t matter. Jesus knows, and He is pleased.