Last week, I came across an article that asked famous people what they would like to tell their younger selves. The answers were a predictably interesting mix of advice about taking life more (or less) seriously.
See… when it’s not all about us, we can turn down the spotlight a little and begin to really see the humanity in the people we encounter.
Let me get a little more specific. The way people treat you has very little (if anything) to do with you. I’m definitely not suggesting that we have no accountability for what we attract into our life story. I believe just the opposite. What I’m saying is that how we treat each other has more to do with how we are then how they are.
Think of the woman you know who says the right things.. and maybe does the right things… but you can’t seem to shake the coldness you feel from her. You get together for coffee and, on paper, it seems like that a friendship should happen. But your gut knows different. There’s something you can’t quite put your finger on about her but it makes you want to keep her at an arm’s distance. And then it happens. That awful moment where she leans in and spills a gut wrenching, raw, heart ripping story that has been confided in her “Well, you know, she had a miscarriage and tried to pass it off as the flu. [smirk] As if we all didn’t know.” And, like a thud. There it is.
What about the guy who wants to spend every waking minute together and professes his love to you so eloquently it makes Shakespeare sound like a second grader? And then he starts breaking little promises…and then big promises…and then one day you find out that he’s been sleeping with your best friend for a year. Does that have something to do with you? Absolutely. There were red flags and you blew past them because, at that time, that worked for you. But here’s my point. Did his and your best friend’s choice to betray someone’s sacred trust have anything to do with you? No, my dear sister. It did not.
People blow past boundaries and betray others and act disrespectfully because that is where they are on their journey. There’s no shame here, dear heart. We have all done things that are just flat out stupid and embarassing. but we’re just not going to beat ourself up about it. And we are certainly not going to bring someone else in our life to beat us up about it, either. We are all where we are and God’s mercy can meet our surrender just exactly where we are.