Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. -Charles Swindoll
Today, someone replied to a comment I made in a rather mean-spirited way and completely misunderstood what I meant. It took me by surprise, and initially I felt a little pain from the comment. But then I realized that 1)the person was probably having a bad day, 2)obviously totally misunderstood my intentions. So I replied by simply clarifying, without any accusations or false modesty, and left it at that.
The original author of the post then contacted me, apologized for that person, etc., and I gave the above reasons for not being really hurt and made it clear I was more than happy to forgive the person of their snarky comment. I kept throwing all these 'happys' back at him, and he asked 'Why are you in such a positive mood? Any particular reason?'
This took me by surprise. I realized that I sounded like this insanely, maybe even annoyingly positive person throughout our chat. I assure you I am truly not, though I suppose I can be at times. I gave him some generic answer of 'well, I guess I am just at peace with my lot today.' But really, in other cases, from a different mouth, or on a different day, that comment might have really hurt me and festered unholy thoughts.
I have been pondering why on earth I was so happy to let that comment go as just an ill-written reply rather than going into a rather involved argument with this person who exists out there in the universe, whom I might add I do not even know.
Once upon a time ago, I had a relationship that was really really great. Until we didn't see each other face to face for a long time. And then it was really great, then just great, going on to good, and then...
I blame 50% of the problems we started having on the fact that we couldn't see each other. Face to face interactions are so essential. Phone calls, text messages, emails, letters...they all can be totally misconstrued. And they were. Facial expressions, tone of voice, the spirit in which you are talking with; they all are so very essential.
The relationship failed. My world came spiraling down. I was in bad shape.
It's been years, but I have come to some peace about what happened. And I decided that forgiveness is a wonderful, wonderful gift. And it produces peace, joy and happiness.
The gospel of Jesus Christ, it is about repentance, yes...but I really believe that it really is about forgiveness. To repent at all, you must forgive others, yourself, the powers and influences that caused the sin or transgression or cup to fall and break or broken arm...or a Facebook comment. The ability to let go of the pain, the hatred, the guilt...they all can be swept away and replaced by the most amazing gift God can give...His love. His joy, peace, happiness. And make it possible for you to love this enigma who is having a bad day.
Who knew such a small thing would create some immense reflection for me today.