Lately, I've been doing a lot of internal inventory...actually the Lord has been doing a lot of "un-peeling." You know, the "onion" concept? (I'll admit this too, amazingly I'm finding it an enjoyable process.) I love it when He just places the jagged puzzle pieces of life together and I'm able to see more clearly. He's so patient and gentle, even when we take forever to get it right, and He's faithful to stick by us when we fall flat on our faces time after time. Aren't we all thankful for that!?
We make decisions each and every day. I think it's safe to say that, more often than not, we attempt to do what we think is right. Make the best choice. Choose the options that make the most sense. What will be most effective. There are all kinds of examples. For instance, I remember when I was younger, thinking my parents were so "off the mark" with the decisions they made for me. Meanwhile, they felt that they were making the best decision for my life based upon their own experiences and opinions. (One can only admit this after they've finally grown up and experienced life themselves.) I imagine they (and you) felt the same way about their parents or guardians too. It's part of life.
It's true, when I was a teenager, I thought I knew what was best (like every other brilliant teenager who has all the answers to life's challenges) and I made choices that I thought were the right. Then, I became a mother and I made decisions for my own children...again, I thought the choices I made were right and the best for them. After all, I wouldn't want anything but the best for my offspring. Right? We try to do right as friends, wives, employees, etc. Even as a Christian, I attempt to give it my best shot to make the wisest choices and decisions that would be pleasing to God. And guess what...
I've made some mistakes and wrong choices along the way - in spite of my best intentions.
What? You too? Isn't that amazing?! The Lord showed me, with the help of a few different verses in His Word that people in my life who have brought hurt, aggravation, or pain to me might have been doing what they thought was best at the time too. Yes, we make mistakes....and so do others we love...why, even the stranger in the supermarket may react out of stress and pain in their own lives. Our words, actions, decisions and choices may seem right and logical to us at the time, while causing hurt and pain to others. Do we mean to hurt others? No, not usually, but it happens. It's part of life.
I've been challenged to look back over my life and look at different experiences and places where I've been hurt or disappointed - and to look at the bigger picture. Is it possible that those individuals were also doing what they thought was best? Were they doing what they thought was right? Did those words come out like they were meant to?
Can people give it their best shot to love us and simply come up short?
Can we give it our all and simply fall short too? Can we say the wrong thing and hurt someone unintentionally? The answer to all these questions is simply - YES!!! It happens.
I think it's safe to say we all intend to give our best but sometimes our best and what we think is right causes pain and hurt for others. And another "yes!" we can say is that we can choose to forgive and extend grace to those individuals. We all get it wrong occasionally! I hope I'll be more observant and give more consideration in the future. It's part of life AND part of our growth process.
When we're trying to get that front parking space at Kroger and someone else whips in before us, or someone cuts in line at the checkout on Black Friday, or when someone we love hurts our feelings, we can choose to consider them before ourselves. We can do this on every level of life.
Here are some questions for us to consider: What is that person going through? What are they experiencing in their life that is causing them to act like such? Is there an emergency in their life? Are they hurting? And ultimately...how will we choose to respond? Will we do what we think is right in spite of the actions of others?
I'm sure I'll get it wrong again, and you will too, but let's do our best to make the right call and extend grace. If we look at things in this perspective more often, we'd be less likely to let those unintended wounds fester into bitterness and un-forgiveness. Let's consider each other - it's worth the risk. Let's be quick to extend grace and be willing to forgive often. Remember, what goes around, comes around! Enjoy the un-peeling in your own life...it's worth it!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours~