Relationships: If Anything Matters, Everything Matters.
“Since most of our hurts come through relationships,
so will our healing.”
I am currently re-reading one of my favorite books, The Shack, by William Paul Young. As with any book I revisit, I am enjoying discovering new things. This time around the above quote jumped off the page and into my spirit. It resonated with me because I was recently accused of lacking “unconditional love, grace and compassion, being selfish, haughty and bourgeois.”
On the surface I could have, and probably should have, been offended. However, I believe offense is a choice so I prayed and asked God to reveal to me any applicable truth in what they were trying to convey.
I sat with the comments for a couple of days before responding.
First, I wanted to allow the sting of what was shared to dissipate so that any applicable truths could rise to the surface of my awareness.
Second, I wanted to give the Holy Spirit time to penetrate my defenses and reveal to me what I needed to receive, acknowledge and address.
Third, I wasn’t feeling well and it took me a couple of days to get it together.
One thing I kept thinking about is the Dr. Maya Angel quote:
“When people show you who they are, believe them.”
This lesson has served me well in my life so of course I thought about it as I processed this experience. Someone had just told me that that I’ve shown myself to them in a way that I feel contradicts who I am. According to them I had shown myself to be selfish, arrogant and lacking in compassion, so it must be true, right?
If a person shows you that they are an unkind person, believe them. If a person shows you that they are compassionate, believe them. Right? Was she referring to one solitary action or a series of actions? If a person behaves in a way that is contrary to what is expected do we just cast them off?
Are they redeemable?
Are they worth the effort?
As I sat with the information before me I had to face head on the fact that someone close to me had perceived my actions in a way that didn’t intend for them to.
Is it true? Am I selfish, arrogant and lacking in compassion?
Is this the sum total of Chiquandra?
Do I not have any redeeming qualities that can overshadow and outweigh the accusations?
Am I digging too deep or not deep enough?
The more I thought about what was said the more I began to question my actions, my motives, my personality. Before I continued too far down the rabbit hole I asked myself one question:
What is the truth? No embellishment, no excuses. What is the unmitigated truth?
The truth is at times I can be all of the above and at times I can be none of the above. If I am all of the above is that a bad thing? If I am none of the above is it a good thing?
Or is it what it is, a part of me, but not all of me?
I continued to think about relationships and how easy it is get lost in the opinions of others. If we want to believe and embrace all of the good things that are said about us then we must be willing to do the same when the comments are not as flattering and warm.
I thought again about the infamous quote and then I countered it with:
“If someone tells you who they think you are, should you believe them?
Again I’d dare say, noooooot necessarily. Just because a person decrees it, doesn’t make it so. We are dynamic beings so we can’t be the sum total of one opinion, accusation or experience. We are complex and composite creatures who, at any moment, are capable of great good and great bad.
When I shared my response, I thanked them for letting me know how they feel and in the least defensive way possible asked them to let me know how they’d like me to demonstrate compassion, unconditional love and grace. I asked this question because I want to make sure that I am relating to them in a manner in which they are best able to receive.
Like other times in my life, I may think I am doing a good job but in fact I’m not because the other person has a different Love Language. (I may explore this more in a future post)
The Bible says that we are called to the ministry of reconciliation so whenever we have the opportunity to do so we should.
I know that relationships are sometimes difficult, especially close ones, but they are also worth it. I refuse to allow strife and contention any place in my relationships. Life is too short and I don’t want to live one second of it in regret.
How do you resolve conflict within your personal relationships?
When confronted by a loved one are you easily offended?
Is there anyone that is in your life that you desire to smooth things over with? If so, what do you think the first step toward reconciliation should be?