Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Relationships, pt. 4 (final)


Job 5:2 For vexation killeth the foolish man, and jealousy slayeth the silly one.

Resentment is something that takes time to form in any relationship. It does not appear overnight. All it takes is one decision you didn't really agree with, one choice you feel your opinion wasn't taken into consideration for, or one time you failed to do something small. If that is left unchecked it will start to grow. The next time you aren't happy with something you will add it to the first one, tuck it away and save it for later. Much like the proverbial snow ball, this small annoyance can grow and grow until it is a huge impediment to any kind of honest and heartfelt communication. We are warned, "...that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled." Heb 12:15b This is so easy to let happen, to just ignore at the time of the perceived slight. But, buy the time it becomes evident that you have this mountain of resentment it becomes almost impossible to resolve it. It is a huge pile of so many small, petty, and by themselves almost insignificant things that you cannot untangle. You are just angry at all this "stuff" and when(or if) you try to explain it or seek redress you sound foolish because each individual thing is so petty. The only way to avoid this is to be aware of it, and don't let it get out of control.


The way you can stop it from getting out of control is by forgiving the other person. Think about the slight, really think about it. Is it worth destroying your relationship to hang on to? Probably not. It can be very helpful to tell the other person about it (later, not when you are still upset). Let them know how it made you feel, why you didn't like it, and how you would like do to things in the future. While you are at it, let them know that you have forgiven them and don't hold it against them (not necessarily in those words). Even if you can't bring yourself to speak to them about it, or if it seems too insignificant to bring up, you still need to honestly forgive them. Forgiveness to the point that you don't remember what was done a day or two later. Really forgive them and let it go.

I know this goes against human nature. Someone hurt you and you are going to forgive them and forget about it. Self sacrifice is involved in all substantive long term relationships. I know we all would like to be on the receiving end of the kind of forgiveness. How can you expect to get it if you don't give it?

An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
Mohandas Gandhi

While this act may be far smaller in scale, it is essentially the same thing that Christ did on the cross. He forgave those who crucified him. He did it without them asking for it, without them apologizing, and he did it not expecting anything in return.

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