I mentioned on Facebook this week that we watched the following video (watch on Youtube HERE) for our Monday night "Family Home Evening."
I watched my sister be bullied for years in Elementary School through her High School experience by girls in our own neighborhood who attended the same church as we did each week. While I knew some of it, I didn't know all of it (and probably won't know all of it ever). It hurts me to think that I wasn't mature enough to help stand up for her as I can recall only once when she came to me and shared a particularly cruel note they had sent her. That time my friends and I confronted the girls who lied through their teeth to try and get out of it. I wish I'd made a bigger stand against her bullies or done a better job of including her in my own group.
Recently I learned that women in my own neighborhood have been talking about me behind my back. While I certainly don't expect everyone to like me, it is always hurtful to hear that women who could spend their time being supportive and kind are spending it being mean. And while I haven't always been the most approachable and even sometimes withdrawn and shy, I don't think anyone deserves to be torn down whether publicly or privately.
As a teenager growing up I repeated the words "I am a Daughter of God who loves me and I love him" each Sunday in our youth church meeting. We were taught that we each have a Divine Nature and that God loves us and finds worth in each of us.
It is strange to think that others do not see that worth or that deliberately set out to hurt or demean others. As I think about the motivation behind such behavior, I wonder if we sometimes forget that the people we deal with every day have trials that we may not see making them appear cold, unkind, impatient, or even rude.
You never know if someone is struggling with a sick child, a difficult marriage, an overwhelming schedule, an abusive situation, or self-esteem issues. Because you cannot see into their soul, you may not understand why they are behaving in a way that you find offensive or "off."
Do you really want to be the person that contributes to those feelings of self-doubt, or lack of self-worth?
While I'm terribly saddened by some of the unkindness of people that I thought were friends, I'm also trying to judge them in a way that helps me understand their inner soul. Is there something I have done to hurt them without meaning to? Have I given into my own personal trials and missed the opportunity to warmly reach out to another person? Have I given offense through some thoughtless act? It is likely that I have done something to contribute to their feelings of frustration or anger towards me. I admit that I am guilty of being impatient, unkind, and even rude at times. I wish that I were always on top of my personal feelings and could put forth a happy, kind face no matter what I'm facing or feeling.
So while I wish that when I do something that hurts another person, they would confront me directly I'm also trying to let it go and forgive them in a way that I hope they will forgive me.
I'm trying to remember that "I am a Daughter of God who loves me and I love him."
I know He loves both those that hurt us and each of us even when we hurt others, though He is disappointed in our behavior. May I strive to build souls rather than tear them down, and help me to forgive others when they hurt me.
Let me be the champion for others' souls and not the one to tear them down.