Nobody’s perfect. Not you, and certainly not me.
The thing about not being perfect is that you are (more likely than not) going to disappoint someone close to you and they are going to return the favour, intentionally or unintentionally.
There’s a certain onus of responsibility we seem to place on our loved ones based on the expectations we have of them, especially when we feel that we exceed their own expectations of us. The problem with expectations, however, is that they are the perfect set up for disappointments and ripples in our relationships.
So when a friend shares our secret with others or says/does something that really offends us, for example, we are more likely to be very hurt about it because we wouldn’t expect that from them. And we are right to expect that the people that claim to care about us would act in a manner that indicates their intention to protect our best interests at all times. But what happens when this isn’t the case?
The focus shouldn’t be so much on the fact that they have wronged us but rather, on our reaction(s) to their wrongdoing. The Bible tells us in James chapter 1 verses 19 to 20 “Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offence and to get angry. For man’s anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires].”
When it comes to being slow to take offence and to get angry, for an impulsive soul like mine it’s almost certainly a given that “slow” is not how things are gonna go. You see, I’m a naturally feisty woman and I’ll be damned if you try to mess with me. Unfortunately, that attitude goes against what God requires from me as His child filled with the Holy Spirit.
In light of me recently experiencing “wrongdoing” by loved ones, I’ll share some of the tactics I employed to help me handle my disappointment in a manner that I feel would be acceptable to God and beneficial to the long-term success of my friendships:
- Love man, trust God: “But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people. No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart” (John chapter 2 verses 24 to 25). Even Jesus knew that human nature is too fickle for one to place any trust in. It’s not a case of walking around with the mindset that you can’t trust anyone but we have to understand that human nature isn’t designed for perfection, so we can’t trust that our friends will always be there for us or fight our corner like we expect. They may have every intention of doing so but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. Love them regardless because you’re going to want them to do the same when you fall short. “ And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them.” (Luke chapter 6 verse 31).
- Sleep on it but don’t sleep with it: I completely understand that it isn’t every time you would want to address a situation as soon as it happens or even on the same day. And quite frankly there’s nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. Sometimes, we may need some time to think things through. However, the big issue is if and/or when you go to bed still angry at the situation. “And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” (Ephesians chapter 4 verse 26). This verse is simply saying that the longer we hold onto anger, the longer we hold open the door to resentment, bitterness and even hatred. Don’t ever end your day without at least diffusing your anger either by finding ways (gym, blog, a walk, etc.) to calm yourself or by just having a chat with whoever has upset you because:
- Just forgive: “Instead, be kind to each other, tender hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians chapter 4 verse 32) You’re asking why?! Let me put it this way: God forgives all our nonsense daily, in fact we are forgiven before we even think of committing any sins against God. Let us not be like the man in the Bible who was pitied and forgiven a tremendous debt yet, went on to harass one of his own debtors despite just being shown mercy by the King (Matthew chapter 18 verses 21 to 35).
Also, “to forgive is to set a prisoner free and find out that prisoner was you” – Louis B. Smedes.
And on that note, is there someone you need to make amends with right now? Is there any lack of forgiveness in your heart towards someone who upset you terribly? Well, what are you waiting for?!
There’s so much chaos in the world already. Don’t bring a bit of that into your personal life as well, by holding grudges or harbouring ill sentiments against one another.
’cause it’s The Steph Way