I think I’m a pretty nice person. And I was telling that to my friend/mentor (and all-around person who holds me spiritually accountable) during a lunch we had last week. She agreed with me (thank goodness), but pointed out how I wasn’t being very “Christian” when I said that I didn’t want to deal with people who had wronged me in certain ways or when I distanced myself from those persons after such a wrong. This woman is like an aunt, a second mother if you will. I really love and respect her, especially her knowledge of the Word. So it hit me when she pointed out that keeping my friendliness from those who hadn’t treated me very well wasn’t of God. I think she said I was stuck in the Old Testament, if I remember correctly. You know, an eye for an eye and all that. I denied it, of course, and came up with some lawyerly argument about not remembering reading in the Bible about having to ask certain co-workers I tolerate about their vacations, etc. Isn’t general civility enough? Certainly I’m not required to be their best friends when it’s not really genuine. I’m not really a fake person. Really. And the idea of going beyond the civil and professional “hi, how are you” (which is genuine, I promise you, I care enough to ask that of anyone) was a bit much for me to really fathom. I can’t really be authentic if I’m being fake, right? So don’t be fake, she says. Mean it. Have it in your heart to forgive. Novel concept. But it’s so important for me to be myself, be real, be authentic – that’s what I value, among other things. That’s what people love about me. That’s what I love about myself. These are all the exhortations I made to my friend. And I couldn’t come up with the chapter and verse (still haven’t found the time for that) to support my belief that God wants us to be genuine. It’s in there somewhere, isn’t it??? Apparently I’m too busy making sure I’m following my own beliefs instead of the Lord’s. When did I start thinking my beliefs were more important? I was placed here on Earth to praise him, right? (A gentle reminder from my friend last week is what helps me to be able to type it this week.) So I’ve been thinking about that for the past week. Upon reflection, I do keep myself from people who have treated me unkindly or with disrespect. I figure there’s no need to keep those people around me. Or I should say I used to feel strongly about that and I’m moving away from that philosophy and mode of thinking. I miss out on the best of those persons by holding them so accountable for the small part of them that perpetrated whatever minor infraction that irked me. More importantly, that person misses out on the best of me because I refuse to share it in some type of plot of revenge. OK, it’s not that serious, there’s no grand plot or plan of vengeance. But it was a way of getting back at them, even if it was subconscious. And it’s not something I want to continue. Vengeance belongs to God anyway. So I’m practicing being authentic and genuine to everyone, even if I’ve felt “wronged” by them in the past. Don’t get me wrong, some are tougher than others depending on what the person did and how I felt about it afterwards. But if it makes things a little easier for me in that I’m not continuing to keep the best of me from them or preventing them from sharing the best of them with me, then that’s got to be better. Who knows what wonderful things can come of that?
Feeling blessed to have had some clarity on this issue and hoping it might mean a little something to you . . .
I sign off glad that I finally am back to blogging!