If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us it is: Mr. Monk was right.
It really is a jungle out there.
Who knew always having a wipe within reach and only drinking his own bottled water (Sierra Springs) would end up being the way we all lived for real?
He was right about something else.
Being able to remember everything is a “blessing and a curse.”
For example: Can you remember right now a time in elementary school when either a teacher or a student was mean to you? And don’t get me started on middle school. Not for the faint-hearted.
Later, grown up, was there some event you should have been invited to, but were left out?
Some group you were excluded from?
Some overheard conversation about yourself or someone you love?
Someone who “put you in your place” when you didn’t deserve it?
Have you worked someplace for years, suggested improvements, made suggestions, only to be “patted on the head,” and told “we’ll see” and then some new person is hired and suddenly the administration is hovering around him like a moth to a flame and granting his every wish?
Did you get your feelings hurt by any or all these scenarios?
And when you got your feelings hurt, did you sit around and brood and summon up—one by one—all the times you’ve gotten your feelings hurt, relived them, stewed over them, and then compiled them together to prove your point that you are a victim of the first order, a person for whom there is little regard, for whom “nothing ever works out,” becoming wounded, withdrawn, and withered?
Who hasn’t “been there” at least once…sometime in the past?
That’s the problem with memory: a sight, a sound, a song can bring everything back and you’re “in the moment,” mired down with feelings you thought you had cast off.
Do you stay there, pent up, clammed up, and shut off from people who may or may not know they injured you?
Shattered feelings have broken up many a marriage, estranged many a family, and ruined many an organization.
If you have hurt feelings today—never mind the reason—how can you move past them?
Because “move past them” we must.
If you’ve been offended and are still at odds with whoever wounded you, and cannot seem to get over it, consider these suggestions.
Instead of endlessly listing grievances and cataloging the sins a person has committed against you, list that person’s positive qualities. Everyone has at least one.
He has a good work ethic.
She is a good mother.
He is well-respected in the community.
She is generous.
Add as many items to your list as possible, and then concentrate on those qualities every time you’re tempted to resent the person who is not behaving as you wish he would.
Soon…or maybe later…this person’s “crimes” against you will begin to pale and fade…maybe not disappear completely, but will be pushed down the list of “importance.”
No matter what the circumstances or when the unfortunate incident took place, let the offender off the hook.
The offense may very well have been intended. Maybe it was simply a case of bad judgment. Maybe just plain meanness. Maybe the behavior was an honest mistake or an oversight. Maybe it was calculated and planned.
No matter what the case…forgive.
“Forgive? No way. He didn’t ask for forgiveness.”
While you’re lying awake at night, stewing over some slight or crime against you, the person who offended you is probably asleep.
Don’t hold yourself captive when the keys to getting out of prison are in easy reach.
Ephesians 4: 32. Be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you.
In every quarrel, every offense intentional or not, someone has to be the grown-up. Someone has to bear the offense, take on the responsibility of making it right, be a peacemaker.
It might as well be you.
In the event it cannot be made right, then at least set an example of living in civility, rendering to the other person the simple courtesy of treating them with respect. Consider they are fellow human beings on the same journey we call “life,” and may have as many problems and challenges as you do.
There will forever be people in our lives who baffle, chafe, and befuddle us. However, “Love thy neighbor,” which Jesus called the second great commandment, has no qualifiers.
Not: Love Thy Neighbor if you are exactly alike.
Not: Love Thy Neighbor if your relationship has been one long unblemished record of unity and harmony. (And what relationship has? Even members of the same family?)
Not: Love Thy Neighbor, but in the event of a misunderstanding or slight, you are excused. You can kick your friend, co-worker, parent, sibling, to the curb, justified in your anger, because “twelve years ago, she said…” or “he did…”
No matter how long it’s been, it’s time to evaluate your shattered feelings, concentrate on the good in the person who “wronged” you.
The person you’ll set free is You.