What if changing one thing in your life had the potential to change everything?
The longer I’ve studied people who are impacting the world, I’ve noticed one particular trait over and over again….they always assume the best. No matter what happens, regardless of how others treat them, you name it, they forbear patiently.
The same can’t be said for unsuccessful people. They wear their heart on their sleeve and are the first people to tell you exactly what they think. Everything is fine until you wrong them and then you’d better look out! If you were to check their bread crumb trail, there are a number of people they’ve written off or disassociated with.
What happens is a pattern develops. It doesn’t take long to develop the mindset that people are disposable. After all, if you unfriend someone on Facebook there are a hundred more people to friend. Who needs to put up with people who don’t produce?
Healthy people think otherwise. They love people who have done nothing to merit their love. In the words of a good friend, ‘Mature people live by their commitments, and immature people live by their emotions’. The world is full of people who love people who love them, but what it really needs is more people who love regardless of how others treat them.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. 1 Corinthians 13:4
So how do you rate? What’s your pattern? Either you are constantly loving and forgiving the people around you or you are punishing them or ignoring them for what they’ve done wrong. Going a step further, maybe you smile and act friendly to their face after they wrong you but eventually you write them off and unfriend them. There’s a term for that. In the world of psychology it’s called passive-aggressive behavior. For example, I won’t say anything mean to you, but I will accidentally block you in by parking behind your car.
Or I may not like your post, although it’s actually great material and highly useful. After all, you didn’t like my post.
Or I may like your post just to show you that I’m not jealous or envious, though I really am.
All fun aside, something begins to happen when you start repeatedly giving people the benefit of the doubt. Something happens in your heart. You begin to grow up. And when you begin to grow up, people begin to take notice. People begin to trust you with their hearts. They’re more willing to follow your leadership. In a perfect world, they also begin to grow up themselves and begin giving other people the benefit of the doubt.
The psalmist writes, “I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for it’s mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:2 NLT.
Most people don’t need another person to tell them how screwed up and unlovely they are. What most people are longing for is someone who loves them warts and all and inspires and encourages them. That’s not to say there’s no such thing as sin. There is and a true friend is willing to do the hard work of rebuking when necessary. The bible says “Open rebuke is better than secret love.” But the bible also says “Love covers a multitude of sins.” If you were truly honest, you might have to admit you’ve got the rebuke part down but the covering needs some work.
If you’ve developed the pattern of writing people off, maybe it’s time to change. You might think it’s no big deal, but it is. It’s affecting you more than you know. You’re hurting yourself and a lot of other people you love. Here are nine words to help get started. “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?”