Yep, there are people who will hold a bitter grudge against anyone who looks at them the wrong way. I am sure this has happened to all of us at one point or another. But there are levels… from a sudden annoyance to strong feelings of animosity, which makes some people obsess about whoever aggravated them, all the while, every so often it´s all made up in their heads.
Have you any idea if the person who looked at you the wrong way was thinking of his/her nephew in the ICU? Why do we get easily offended (some more than others)? Have we failed to notice that the world doesn´t exactly revolve around us? Why do we burden our spirits holding grrrr…udges (most of the time about nothing worthwhile)? Why are we so quick to judge others for their shortcomings, yet unhurried when it comes to our own?
You know what’s wrong with the outsider’s perspective? We don´t get the full story. We are limited by what we can see & understand about others. We don’t know their internal struggles. We don’t hear that endless spiral of negative thoughts inside their head. When we look up to people, we paint them in an idealized fashion, which is normally far from reality. This may be one of the reasons as to why we tend to be more reactive & judgemental as opposed to being better listeners.
“…let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…”- James 1:19
The truth of the matter is that we all struggle through. In various ways, we all face challenges, fears & doubts that affect the different areas of our lives & the way we view others. Which is why we need to become better observers & less appraisers.
Sure there are circumstances where people are flat out offensive with out any incitement, and our natural reaction is to make them feel worse than how they made us feel in the first place. But we have to keep in mind that these people are way more burdened & less emotionally educated than those who don´t act like this. People who are hurting inside, hurt others on the outside. This holds true most of the time.
But what are we to do in these circumstances? Should we turn our other cheek? Yes. And by that I´m not talking about letting people walk all over us. It´s more about having the frame of mind not to respond with violence in all its forms (sarcasm, passive aggressive, physical & the like) – it takes a stronger man not to fight – opting to talk or walk your way out of the situation, when possible. Turning the other cheek is not a sign of weakness, it´s a sign of strength of a higher order.
“Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to realize the prisoner was you”- Corrie Ten Boom (holocaust survivor)
The Bible clearly states: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”- Gal 5:14… But is this really possible? Can we love the rest of the people as we love ourselves (specially in this day & age where we give so much importance to the self)? Can we truly love those that hurt us, or worst yet, our loved ones? Or is this statement from The Bible purposely exaggerated to make us understand how much importance God gives to loving others? The answer is no. But given our folly nature, we must strive for this to be true in our own life, whatever the cost, which BTW includes not being on speaking terms with our ego.
Needless to say it will not happen on our own effort. By abiding to God through prayer, meditation & communion we will discover a power within us like no other, capable to forgive & love…wholeheartedly. God’s continual forgiveness & tolerance of our own failures can create a tolerance within us to bear with other´s failures.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”- Mt 5:23, 24
Who´s living rent-free inside your head?…I hope it´s Jesus.