There are genuinely good people in my life who I struggle with. Yup. It’s sort of a mystery how good-hearted people can clash so often, but we do.
I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about. They’re the people you have the majority of misunderstandings with. The ones who make you feel as if you’re never going to quite reach the level of expectations they’ve set for you while they exhibit a total lack of wanting to reach your expectations of them. And, even when all is going well between you, there’s still an underlying current of unrest.
Maybe you have a few people in your life like that.
And, maybe you’re like me in the fact that you continually strive to find solutions because you truly want to have a good relationship with them.
These people come into our lives in many forms. A co-worker, an in-law, a step-child, or fellow church goer, just to name a few.
Having this kind of relationship can be draining at best, and like a keg of dynamite at worst. It can leave you dreading the moment you’re around them again. And, for some of us, we waste countless hours rehearsing what we will say the next time there’s an altercation.
For me, these situations eat away at me until I feel downright exhausted and needing to call a “time out” for prayer.
I was recently taking my frustrations to God when I was reminded that the actions of others can feel extremely personal while actually having nothing to do with us at all. It’s a dynamic that I’ve labeled, impersonally personal.
We don’t know the whole picture. We don’t know if a marital mess hides behind the closed doors of that cranky co-worker. We have no clue what happens in the other home our step-child just returned from. We may never know what happened to our friend that made her so judgmental. And so on and so on.
Anytime I take a moment to mull over truths like this, I’m struck with a question:
What if the most challenging people in our lives are the very ones who are hurting most inside?
What if all the hurtful actions and words that get tossed your way really have absolutely nothing to do with you and how that person views you?
It doesn’t take the sting away. Believe me, I know…however, it alters the way we address the whole issue. When we can see the insults, attacks, plain old misunderstandings and all the things that come with a strained relationship as nothing more than an indicator that something is wrong, rather that someone is wrong, it just might propel us toward a genuine resolution.
While we still need to place healthy boundaries and ground-rules so that we aren’t just a punching bag for someone to take their frustrations out on, adding an extra dose of compassion just might be the catalyst that changes everything!
If you need some inspiration to give you the emotional energy to even desire to be compassionate (like I do sometimes) take a look at Luke 23:34. In some of the most famous words of all times, Jesus leads the way with forgiveness and mind-blowing compassion. “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Remembering that some things are impersonally person has helped me be more patient and kind. What could it do for you?