In Your Language

Saturday, April 12, 2014

What is your personal measuring stick?

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How do you treat the people who hurt you?

Your answer will give you at least one telling way of assessing 

what quality of person you are.

There where times in my young life that I didn't know when friends would turn into enemies. The line seemed so blurry at times it was dizzying trying to keep track. My original goal was just to pick out who was "who" and stay away from the people who would lash out at me. I thought I was doing the reasonable thing-- avoid pain. Social pain can be exponentially worse than physical pain, at least for me.

Some people judge others by a different logarithm than how they judge themselves. We are predisposed to judge ourselves more favorably than others even if our behavior is identical. It seems absurd, but at the same time it makes sense that we should have a preference for ourselves in pursuit of survival. But I don't see any dinosaurs or animals of prey stalking the common man; one is extinct and the other is something we would only encounter in the wild. It is not normal to have a frame of mind "to kill or be killed" in this day and age.

Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church has a sermon series on  taking accountability for our actions. He suggests that whatever gets jostled out of us could only be knocked out of us because we already had it within us. So, if someone hurts us and we lash back because we were triggered for that emotion; we must have already had anger inside of us. This implies that our present anger is connected to past situations. The anger we experience in the present is defunct. 

By extension, the way we treat people who hurt us in the moment reflects more of who we are than who the other person is. It can reveal to us what we have inside. What things do we hold inside that makes us who we are? Whatever we are a vessel for defines us. So, if we are working on our inner qualities then we will not be driven to display disproportionate anger towards people who hurt us as time goes on. We will find ways to derail that anger; like offering something totally different: grace and forgetfulness.

It's easier to indulge our anger. We already feel validated in that feeling from who knows how long ago. And, it's easy to treat people well who also treat us well because they don't knock out or trigger the ugliness inside of us. But it takes a longer time to rebuild something than to tear it down. When we accept people as being fallible and knowing that the are BOUND TO hurt us, we can respond to those moments with more aplomb. Then we can show who we are with the anger filtered out. 

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That is why a true measuring stick of our character is how we respond to distasteful situations. If you can act in love toward people who have no intention of treating you kindly, then pat yourself on the back for me.  You would be in my inner circle of friends. You are a blessing to all people.


When is a time that you took the higher road in a social situation? Please share in the comments below. Thank you for reading and for joining the conversation!

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