I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. SO many moments where I know if I could go back and change the way I dealt with a situation, I would. Hurting people because you are hurt is just easier, it's what we do, it's a normal reaction.....but it's completely wrong (bummer).
Yesterday I had the uncomfortable pleasure of being talked to by God. Seriously. Of course he took the form of our pastor Jim and his talking was the Sunday sermon, but it was absolutely directed at me (I'm not entirely sure what the rest of those people were even doing there ;)
From Romans 12....
Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
And just to make sure I was listening, within an hour after coming home from church, we had our first test. I think I passed...but just barely. Despite having been covered in scripture to deal with the situation, I found myself once again being hurt and wanting to hurt back. I resisted the urge to throw rocks, I held my tongue when I could have criticised, but I found myself getting defensive when confronted with my past. Especially when it was a fairly inaccurate picture.
I have no trouble (well, almost) taking responsibility for what I've done. It's painful to be forced to remember unattractive behavior on my part, but it's necessary to deal with it and move on. However, I have an even harder time (ok, it's impossible) when asked to apologize or make amends for things I absolutely did not do. I am completely stumped. What is my 'Christian self' supposed to do when I'm blamed for things I DID NOT DO (that's me yelling). Do I apologize? Do I just let it go? Or do I (with voice raising) defend myself and in doing so pretty much call the other person a liar? I chose option 3 (here's where the 'just barely' comes in).
I have a sense of fair play and justice that is, at times, counterproductive. Dealing with a friend or relative who has injured you is much different than presenting a case before a jury (where I would surely win:). I need to learn to separate the two.
How important is it to be right, to be vindicated? Is peace worth sucking it up and just letting people think the worst of you (which in this case they will anyway)? Isn't doing the right thing what counts in the end? But what if you're not entirely sure what the 'right thing' is? And what if there is a third party involved, someone you love dearly who is caught in the middle?
All I have at the moment are questions, I pray I get some answers.....soon!
...to be continued.