Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)
The last time we met, we discussed how when we explode over trivial things, it’s usually not about that particular topic, but something deeper inside us; an insecurity, a worry or anxiety, or fear of something. In the same way, when others take their vengeance out on us, it’s usually not about what’s coming out of their mouths, but something broken inside them as well.
When this happens, the typical response would be to defend ourselves, shut down, or spew back. However, if we’re a child of God, He calls us to a higher level of response. He wants us to show love and compassion for that broken person. Loving that person doesn’t mean setting ourselves up to be abused or the target of their aggression time after time, but it does mean praying about and seeking God’s ways before answering or responding in the situation where we find ourselves.
For instance, you and a coworker were assigned to jointly contribute to an important project at work. This coworker doesn’t pull her own weight and relies too heavily on your generosity and good work ethic, expecting you to complete the majority of the project while taking the majority of the credit. And, to top it off, she throws you under the bus regarding a serious mistake that she committed. With the economy the way it is and a displeased boss, you’re worried about being put on probation, or worse yet, losing your job.
You have a choice to make. You can confront your coworker and spew right back, accusing and making the situation worse. You can march into your boss’s office and defend yourself, hoping that your boss will see who’s really at fault…or you can calmly have a conversation with your coworker, not accusing but presenting the facts and giving her the choice to join you in a meeting you set up with your boss to discuss the specifics of the project or you go alone.
In the third scenario, you aren’t allowing the broken person to control you or further harm you, but you are projecting and representing Christ’s love while holding fast to the truth.
Each of us has a choice. People can choose to take their frustrations out on us, but we can choose in each and every circumstance to either unload right back or stand up and show Christ’s love while holding fast to the truth of the situation. Just remember, before you get ready to blast someone back, it probably really isn’t about the current conflict but instead something much deeper inside either that person…or maybe even yourself.