I was in a parking lot today and watched the drivers from two cars get in a honking battle. They concluded their exchanges with middle fingers, yelling and mean looks. I would suspect that perhaps these drivers have different sides to their personalities, such that they don’t go through their lives everyday with expletives, middle fingers and combative behaviors.
Just because someone is hostile or cranky with us doesn’t mean that we have to repay the same acrimony. Indeed, such moments are opportunities to do a quick heart check on ourselves and choose better. Furthermore, we can go the extra mile & look for constructive ways to bring out the best in people. Here are some suggestions for your consideration:
encouragement, gratitude and polite words make a comfortable runway for others to be gracious
a soft answer turns away wrath – Prov 15;1
forgiveness is a decision to reflect God’s DNA in us, since we are liberally forgiven even more than we realize
what a person “deserves” is best left in God’s hands, since we are commanded by Jesus not to judge in Matt 7:1
Let’s endeavor to bring out the best throughout our daily exchanges!
We are quick to love stuff that’s easy: people who are nice to us, soft blankets, space heaters in Winter, chocolate, snowboarding, etc. But when we see people who different, let’s pre-decide to be loving. For example, you might prefer a more polished or professional appearance and thereby find the people with the same image easier to love. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe you’re less polished and only match or when there’s a solar eclipse. So maybe you find it easier to love people who have a more “eclectic” approach to their image or style.
And I’d say for all of us, it’s much easier to love people who are kind, respectful and gracious. Those individuals who are sullen, grumpy, surly & even combative can be tricky to navigate. So let’s not make Valentine’s Day a once a year holiday to celebrate love. Let’s decide that everyday is our day to love, because we are loving people, regardless of who the recipient may be!
I had an interesting experience with someone that has really made me think about my behavior. I was recently trying to be very nice to someone & it wasn’t working. This person was responding with very rude behaviors & comments. Because they were acting so poorly, I wanted to be mean back & express that I was really displeased with their words & actions. I started to think about my behavior & suddenly I was confronted w the truth that I was being manipulative. I was trying to control the other person’s behavior by being nice rather than just being a genuinely nice because that’s who I am.
So here’s the quick conclusion: let’s be nice because we are nice people & not for the purpose of controlling another person’s behavior. Dear friends, let’s be nice because we are nice & not because we’re manipulative 🙂