Anyone who knows me knows that I can be very passionate at times. Passion typically pushes people toward extreme emotions and corresponding actions. Passionate people have been known to love the strongest, hate the deepest, yell the loudest, fight the hardest, and be the most determined. I’ve read one place where the zeal that Jesus had for His Father’s house drove Him to over turn tables and drive out merchants.
Passion can be a good thing, but it can also be a liability.
Anyone who knows me also knows that there are sometimes I let things roll off my back as if they are nothing. I have surprised people many times who thought I would react in anger only to find me at relative peace about something. It is the times at peace I want to talk about.
How is it that someone can do something to me and I not get offended or upset?
Because offense is a choice.
There is a fundamental element that I believe we as a people should take to heart where other people are involved; acceptance. Our society has grown to a point where our acceptance of other people is conditional. As long as we agree or as long as they don’t get out of line, or as long as they fit my approved box where I mentally store people, I can accept them. But is that how we should engage others?
If I meet someone and they steal from me, I would be disappointed, but I would learn from the experience. I would realize they are a thief, and move on. If they steal from me again, I can’t be disappointed in them any longer, for they are true to who they are, but rather I would be disappointed in me for allowing them to steal from me again.
Part of accepting people is accepting people for who they are without some expectancy they are going to change for us. If we determine someone is a liar and we don’t like them because of it, that doesn’t change the fact they are a liar, they are likely not going to stop being a liar because how we feel about them, and they are likely not going anywhere. So, the choice is either accept they are a liar and move on, or be pissed off there is something we can’t control about someone.
Instead of trying to bend people to our will, perhaps we should just accept them, flaws and all. We can’t get mad at a liar for lying, or a thief for stealing. Instead of getting mad, accept it and move on. We should realize they are who they are and keep that in mind when dealing with them as to protect ourselves, but that doesn’t include hating someone.
There is a popular phrase out; “haters gonna hate.” How can we accept that but not apply the principle to all aspects? Haters are going to hate, thieves are going to steal, liars are going to lie, gossips are going to gossip, and people who talk about others behind their back are going to talk about us. It’s what they do. It shouldn’t be a surprise. But don’t get mad about it; embrace it.
This lesson goes to the church as well. How can we get upset when the world acts like the world? Don’t sinners sin? If Jesus can accept us in our sin, why can’t we accept the rest of His Children the same way?