It may seem logical to focus on Christmas today, but I want to turn our focus to something else. Don't get me wrong. It's important to focus on the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I love Him so much and I will be thinking often today about how God the Son came to earth in the form of a tiny human baby. It's amazing that He lived and died for each of us.
Something happened today and I wanted to write about it. At first I thought about waiting a week, but then I realized that it just may help someone else dealing with similar feelings during this holiday season.
Today I found out that someone was really hurt by something I said a few weeks ago. I didn't find out from the person who was hurt. I heard it from someone else. I was so shocked to learn about this that I could barely concentrate on the rest of my friend's story. My brain started to race as I contemplated all aspects of the situation.
I can't remember saying anything hurtful. What did I say? I've seen this person several times since then. I didn't think anything was wrong, have they been wondering why I don't seem more bothered by the "situation" I didn't even know about?
Most of all, I thought How can I fix this?
I asked Gary about it and he suggested that I just let it go. It might make things worse if I brought it up. I think he's right, but I need to do some intense praying about it. I hate it when I've disappointed someone or hurt them unintentionally. It may also be a bit of a pride thing, because part of my reason for wanting to go "fix" it was so I could defend myself and explain that I hadn't meant to say something hurtful. The fact is, even though I can't remember what I said, someone felt hurt by my words.
I was going to try to let it go and forget about it, but I did think about it quite often today. I think there are some things that we can learn from this, especially as many of us spend time with friends and family during this holiday season.
1) Be careful with your words.
In my situation, I really don't remember saying anything hurtful, but someone took it that way. All of us need to be careful to speak kindly to others. We don't have to be paranoid about saying the wrong thing, but we can be thoughtful as we interact with others and be sensitive to how someone may take our words.
2) Try to think well of others.
Let's not automatically assume that someone is trying to hurt us when they say something. Sometimes the other person is just trying to make conversation or they might even be attempting to joke around with us but it comes across poorly. I wish my friend had thought "Robyn doesn't usually say things like that" and asked me about what I meant instead of assuming that I was being hurtful and then holding on to that hurt. Remember how many times you've gone home from some event and thought "Boy, I wish I hadn't said that!" People make mistakes.
3) Don't hold a grudge.
If your sister-in-law says something you consider snarky at the family Christmas party, try to let it go quickly. (You can vent to your spouse or best friend about it first if you must) If you keep all of her snarky comments in your mind, it's definitely going to affect how you think about her and treat her in the future. Forgiving others and letting it go will allow you to treat people with patience and love.
4) Sometimes you just have to talk to the offender.
This can be difficult. We would rather hold on to our hurt feelings and nurse that grudge instead of talking to someone about how hurt we feel. It's risky. We may find that they really did mean to be hurtful (that's a topic for another Focus Friday) but often we may find that they are horrified to find out that something they've said has hurt us and they will be happy to clear up the misunderstanding.
I hope everyone enjoys some very fun family gatherings. Keep these tips in mind as you interact with others. People are going to say some really dumb things. They might hurt your feelings. Either let it go or talk to the person who has offended you. That's the way to keep peace in your heart this Christmas.
"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13 NIV)
Has someone hurt your feelings? How can focusing on God help you to either let it go or be courageous enough to talk to the person who has offended you?