I have always heard that “the size of a man can be determined by the size of the things that make him angry.” I have taken that to heart in my life and try to let the world roll off my back, staying carefree and lighthearted. I also try not to associate with people who are full of anger, negativity, or drama.
But this week, I had a little of that thrown into my lap, and I had to choose how I was going to deal with it.
I am a Christ-follower, although I find myself highly allergic to organized religion. He (Jesus Christ) was a shining example of how we should treat people when we find that they live their lives differently than we do, and/or they don’t perceive the world in the same manner. I am trying to live up to the standard he set in that regard. Because, truly, it doesn’t matter if anyone is happy with my choices but me. And if I feel I am living my life to the very best of my ability, that I am doing everything I can to be the person I want and am striving to become, then I am okay.
And right now, I don’t feel like that person.
I lost my cool this week. And the worst part is, I didn’t lose it with the right people. I hurt feelings because I couldn’t get out of my own.
John Bevere said that “Offense cuts you off from God. We separate ourselves from the pipeline. I’ve never seen anything block blessings from heaven except offense.”
I believe we make our own heaven and hell on this earth based on how we feel about the choices we make. And I have chosen hell most recently.
My heart hurts. I am so incredibly tired. Things affect me more lately, especially with my health in such a precarious position.
I am, and always have been, the “peacemaker” in my world. I hate conflict, I hate confrontation, and I really, really, dislike being in the middle of things.
I have learned, however, there is a time and a place that make confrontation necessary. When a friend is doing something that could hurt themselves or another person, I will confront them. When someone does something with the potential to hurt my children, I become the ferocious mother lion of confrontation (and generally my Irish Redhead takes over, which is no good).
But once the confrontation is over, I am usually able to let go and think nothing of it again. Not today.
All of last night and today, I have mulled it over in my mind, pondering how I could have changed things, where things went wrong, and what I could do to fix it. I have asked the questions like, “Why do people get offended? Why don’t they try to see things from another person’s perspective? Why can a question, a sigh, a word, a movement of the hand, be so easily misconstrued? What brings such discord and chaos to people who are so kindhearted and loving as a norm?”
In my mind the “offenses” committed by all parties are so miniscule. And while I believe people’s feelings are very valid, I am also a firm believer in the saying that “feelings aren’t facts.” So, I am refusing to validate my own feelings, and rather, taking some time to look at facts. And the fact is, I love you all. If you are a person in my world, my love is bigger than any discord or dissention. If you are or aren’t friends with my other people, that’s okay. If you perceive life differently than me, let me know. Maybe I will learn something from you. But I refuse to be caught in the middle.
And since we are all Christ-followers, I thought I would jot down a few scriptures that help me when I am caught up in my own human mess of offense and bitterness. It’s so hard to come out of that place sometimes, like today, I have found myself getting upset repeatedly by what is happening.
So, I am using these scriptures to remind myself that religion doesn’t dictate, that judging does no good, and that everyone has their own journey, their own path they must follow… After all, everyone has the same goal in life, everyone wants to become a better version of themselves.
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all offenses.
A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
In this hope, I strive always to maintain a clear conscience (wording actually means “free of offense”) before both God and man.