She was trying to help. Her intentions were good. She did nothing wrong.
But I did.
I snapped at her, was mean, and deeply hurt her.
Fortunately, I realized what I’d done and apologized, but the damage was done.
Why is it we are so quick to wound the ones we love?
Why do we so easily mistreat the ones we are the closest to?
We can blame stress or exhaustion (both true for me when I exploded, but still inexcusable).
We can point the finger at the other person and try to blame them for “making us mad.”
But the truth is, no one makes me mad. I choose.
I react rather than respond.
And I am always responsible for my actions, even if someone else does something wrong.
I am never off the hook for what I do or say, regardless of what was done or said to me.
But they weren’t fair!
But they spoke out of turn!
But they were wrong!
Nothing done by someone else ever gives me the right to treat another human poorly.
Sadly, we all too often treat the ones in our inner circle poorly for one or more of the following reasons:
- We take them for granted.
- We have stockpiled a bunch of minor irritations.
- We have unmet expectations.
So, that’s the problem. What’s the solution?
I could write about good communication, forgiveness, grace, and treating others as you want to be treated (aka the golden rule). All those things are excellent choices to consider.
But here’s the one thing that will make the most difference and stop you dead in your tracks from being harsh: esteem everyone.
In other words, see their value and treat them as priceless individuals who matter.
Think I’m over-simplifying it?
Here’s one question that will convince you otherwise. How do you treat your most precious possession? Do you kick it? Abuse it? Throw it around haphazardly?
You treat that thing (whatever it is) with honor. You don’t scratch, bend, break, squash, or abuse it. You care for it as a precious item of great worth.
Why? Because it matters to you and therefore you esteem it.
I am pretty sure humans are far more valuable than anything you or I might own.
Consequently, the next time you find yourself tempted to treat another human being poorly, stop and ask yourself: How can I show honor and value to this person?
And by the way, all humans should be treated as priceless individuals because they are created in the image of God.
Jesus loved them enough to die for them—even the mean and broken ones—the ones like you and me.
Guess He thought we were worth it.
And we are.
So, here’s your mission HIMpossible: when someone ticks you off (and it will probably be somebody close to you), remind yourself that they are precious to Jesus and treat them accordingly.
Always easy? No.
Appropriate and wise? Absolutely.