17
Nov
10

Other musings of the night

As for the actions of others, ourselves, forgiveness and truth:

We cannot control others. We can’t control our children either. No, each individual is responsible for his or her own behavior. In some cases, we’re in charge of the consequences. For instance, if my son were to choose to not do his chores, he’d get to sit at the table until he decided it was time to do them. See? Fair enough. No fun until you get ‘er done!

Yes, I do pass judgment on others. We all do. If you say you don’t, you’re lying; to me and to yourself. But I don’t judge just looking for a way to put them down and to make myself feel better. No, it’s usually for a different purpose. Sometimes it’s to learn something. As in, “Oh, she did that? And that’s what happened? Well, I better not do that!” Sometimes it’s so I understand a person. And maybe so I can help a person. Sometimes it’s to warn others of what I believe to be a dangerous situation. Yes, sometimes I am catty, as well, although I do my best not to be. We make judgments all day long. Sometimes I judge dinner to be slow cooker sloppy joes instead of Golabkis. 🙂

But I am not in charge of raising other adults. I do not put my friends in time-out for misbehaving. Why? Because I’m a Christian. I forgive. I may talk the situation over with them-privately. Give them MY thoughts and feelings on their behavior. But ultimately, it’s up to them to choose what to do: continue or stop.

But it is hard to make a judgment, never mind control, someone’s actions when you don’t know about them. Right? That’s what I thought too.

Some people have been implying that there are certain friends of mine taking actions against them. I have no clue what these people are talking about! No clue—whatsoever. It’s a head scratcher for sure. In the past, the self-same people would suggest I disassociate myself from someone when that someone makes mistakes or behaves in a way that I do not find cool.

Well, here’s the thing. If it harms me or my children, you’re darn tootin’ I’m not gonna be friends with them anymore. If it harms another, I’ll tell my friend what they are doing is, in my opinion, wrong. I may even go so far as to tell them what they SHOULD do. But except for certain circumstances, I do not “disown” my friends. Rather than that, I tend to help them “fix” the situation. It’s something I get from my father.  This excludes rapists, murderers, child abusers, et al. I do not ever justify, fix, or excuse or even really forgive that.

The type of things I’m talking about is when Suzy says to Jane that Jane’s gained weight and hurt Jane’s feelings. Or when Jane says she tried to talk to Suzy because Suzy is doing something she shouldn’t and now Suzy won’t talk to Jane. Or, maybe Jane wrote something online about a stranger that wasn’t cool. Those types of things. Life is rarely black and white and there is a ton of grey area. This area is where the things I’m talking about come in. Even the Bible recognizes the different levels of sin, too.

 

I don’t make friends easily. Many of my friends today fall into two categories: From years and years and years and years ago or “online” friends and associates. I do not have, at this time, a really close, hang-out and play cards kinda friend. I stay in touch with those friends via internet. I moved away from them all. It happens. I’m working on making those kinds of connections here in Oklahoma now. But I have certain beliefs about how friendships work. Most of that comes from my Christian-based beliefs.

The Bible tells us to forgive others as we would have Christ forgive us. Think about that for a minute. Let it soak in.  We got time.

Think about that tiny hurt that’s been festering beneath the surface. Started out so small and now it’s flaming bright red, isn’t it? That’s how it works. If you don’t forgive when the action happens, if you don’t turn the other cheek, it does more harm to YOU than any of your actions in vengeance can do to the person who hurt you.

Now imagine you did something that hurt someone else. It wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t meant to hurt but it hurt someone and you recognize that. Imagine that someone is Christ. Would you want Him to forgive you the way you forgave the person who caused your pain? Would you want Him to keep bringing up all your past mistakes, again and again and again and again? Would you want him to discount the months and months of good you’ve been doing because that one time, almost a year ago, you did something wrong? Of course not. You’d want and expect Christ to forgive AND forget. ‘Cause that’s what the Bible says He does.

Of course, the Bible says as well that you have to actually be contrite about your wrong-doing before asking for forgiveness. If you keep sinning, and not even TRYING to stop, and don’t ask for guidance and help in stopping some behavior, and keep praying for forgiveness, you ain’t gonna get it cause you’re not really sorry.

That’s where the two paths differ here. A human can forgive another human. If person A forgives person B, person B does not need to be contrite or ask for that forgiveness. It is for person A’s benefit to forgive and not for the benefit of person B. That’s the beauty of forgiveness in humans. It lets go of that festering, gaping, puss-filled wound. It lets all the pain out. Person A can move on no matter what person B may be doing or continuing to do.

Interesting side note: I took a break from writing to change the channel on TV. I turned on 19 kids and counting. God bless than woman! But the discussion was the eldest son’s wife and her father went to a prison and talked to the women there about forgiving those that had hurt them. It is so strange that this would be the topic; the very same topic of this post. That confirms for me that this post is meant to be written and published and that God is guiding my hands and word choices 🙂

I have done some things I am not proud of. I have done my level best to make amends for those things. I am honest—some say to a fault. Just the other day a good friend of mine, whom I met in 2007 as a neighbor, told me why she loved me. “Heather, you are the most genuine, honest, loving, kindest person I’ve ever known. You never do things just for you; your ulterior motives are always for greater good. For other people. It’s weird. It’s like knowing a saint.” Okay, so I wouldn’t go that far in my own assessment of myself. It sure did feel good to hear though!

She went on to say how I’m an open book. How I don’t lie. And that she loves that most about me. She has had some toxic people in her life. Many of whom lied to her consistently. She appreciates honesty now more than ever. I can dig that.  And I’m glad she thinks so highly of my honesty.

It wasn’t always such a good quality though. I’ve been laughed at, picked on, stomped on (yes, literally) for being honest about what I thought, how I feel or what I think of other people. If someone asks a question, I always assumed they wanted the truth. I intellectually recognize that society-at-large doesn’t always hold true for that assumption. They SAY they want truth and then get all offended when it’s given. I’ll warn ya now: If you don’t want an honest answer, don’t ask me a question.

I’ve gotten better about not sharing things. Oh, not about me and my life. But about other people. When I was growing up, I’d share other people’s “dirty laundry” so to speak. My mother played a large part in helping me understand what my business to share is and what isn’t. Yes, sometimes I share my husband’s business but usually only when it impacts me and when we’re discussing how it impacts me. But I have kept a few secrets. I’ve gotten good at keeping other people’s secrets.

Oh, I don’t mean criminal activity or anything of that sort. I mean those little late-night chat confessions: I once had a crush on so-and-so’s husband. Nothing happened, of course. Just a harmless crush. Those types of things. I can keep my mouth shut.

The fact that I choose not to in certain circumstances does get me in hot water from time to time. With friends. With family. There are times when I had to blab to save someone’s life. I can’t apologize for those things though. I can’t take it back either. But with all my friends, I can say I’m happy to know that most forgive me my trespasses as I forgive them their trespasses.

And why does that make me happy? Not for me. I’m happy they forgive me because that will make them happier in the end. If someone is your friend, you want them to be happy, right? Forgiveness *is* happiness. Holding on to grudges from 20 years ago when Suzy gave you the evil eye isn’t going to make you happy. It’s going to make you bitter.

It will color your perception of the world and how other individuals are treating you. You may think something or someone is attacking you when it’s really not that. You may think something written is about you or meant to be about you but it isn’t. These bitter thoughts and this anger may consume your whole being one day until there is nothing left under the skin. How tragic would that be?

So yes, I’m happy my friends can forgive me when I mess up. I’m happy that I can forgive those who mess up and hurt me. I’m happy that the friends in my life today and the family in my life today can deal with my blunt-force honesty. I don’t have to second guess myself later on when someone stops talking to me about which thing I said it was that they found “rude.” Because they will be just as genuinely honest with me and when I say something messed up, they’ll tell me “Heather, that was wrong.” and let it go.

Forgiveness is truly a blessing for the person who can forgive. Bless yourself today and forgive those that have hurt you. Even those that have hurt you worse than the topics I’ve mentioned here. Not for them; but for yourself. For your own happiness.

 

 

 

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