Yesterday, someone I don’t know well made an incredibly disparaging, hateful comment about my family.* Words cannot possibly describe how furious I was. It wasn’t until later that I realized that in my incredulity and anger, I once again missed an opportunity to have what could have been a very interesting conversation. With one word, I could have opened up a dialogue and maybe understood and gotten to know this woman a little better:
Why does she feel that way, why does she think those things, why did she say the things she did? With that response, I might have gained some insight into a mindset that is foreign to me. I might have learned about the fears she harbors or the prejudices she maintains. Maybe I never could have changed her mind or addressed her concerns, but maybe I could have at least understood her a little better.
Instead, I was too busy being offended.
How many opportunities to love others do I miss, because I’m too preoccupied with being offended by them?
After this happened, the word that God brought to my mind was soft. I mentioned before that I’m in the process of tearing down walls, being vulnerable and allowing myself to be seen. So in this weeks episode:
Why did I get so angry over what this woman said to me? Because I felt attacked, judged and condemned – and not just me but also my family… my children. And you know what? Maybe she was judging me and condemning my family and thinking some really hateful things about my kids. So what should my response be?
That’s what it took for Jesus to look into the eyes of those who were condemning him to death and say: “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” The correct response, the only one that leads to peace and joy, the only one that leads to forgiveness and healing, is love. Every single time.
*When I originally published this, I went into some detail about what was said, then later realized that wasn’t edifying or necessary. Those words have been deleted.