It is so had to do, acting without expecting. Two plus two equals four but life is not mathematics. One action does not necessarily equal an expected result.
Several years ago I was on staff at a large organization and following a particularly long meeting I was among a group of members talking in a hallway. The conversation didn’t last long but I said something in passing that hurt the feelings of a fellow staff member. I didn’t realize it until that evening when I received a long email about what I had said and done. It took me by complete surprise. I sent an email back immediately apologizing and promising to be more careful with my words and received another email outlining other things I had done that this staff member found irritating and insulting. Again, I apologized and began looking at my words and behavior to see if I could find all of these faults. I didn’t agree with everything this staff member wrote but I felt they deserved enough respect from me to pray for greater self-awareness in all my interactions.
This is why expectations can be so dangerous. We may know, or hope we know, our intentions as we develop and cultivate relationships, make our way with others along this path called life. We may not wish to hurt others or offend them. Our life can be about peace and kindness but it may not always be perceived that way. We must purposefully live well but not expect our lives to be beyond questioning. When we make a mistake or someone is hurt by something we have done, even if we believed we acted innocently, we seek forgiveness and restoration so that our lives match the intent of our hearts.
Finding the Good –
I arrived yesterday at a group home to talk about making good choices and having a plan when they leave the facility. The front door leads to a long hallway and immediately to the left is the meeting room. I opened the door and was about to make my way to the room when I could hear they were engaged in a heated and heartfelt discussion. One of the residence, we’ll call John, had offended another person in the group and the leader was trying to explain to John what he had done and why it was necessary for him to apologize. It was tough getting through to John. He had a point of view, feeling which had been wounded also, and it seemed no matter what was said and how the guys in the group in said it, John was unable to see the fault in his words and behavior. Finally, the leader, sensing they weren’t progressing, put a halt to the discussion and had each of them say something positive about John before dismissing the session.
Difficult people exist in families, friendships, jobs and every place you find folks from different backgrounds, with different life experiences, raised in different ways, think differently and act differently. In other words, difficult people are everywhere. Truth be known, we have been different and difficult ourselves at one time or another. We can’t avoid those who get on our nerves, say and do inappropriate things, offend us and others, cause disruptions, and this can make it hard to love and show grace to them.
If we can’t live without them, perhaps we can try our best to find the positive in them. Seeing good, focusing on what’s right instead all that may be wrong can cause us to treat them better, love them more and is a reminder that someone may be trying to locate the good in us as well.