Blatant or subtle displays of hate and mistreatment, through either negative words, action/inaction, or perception often triggers a natural desire to retaliate. Any one of us instinctively wants to lash out when somebody hurts or mistreats us, because we for some reason feel it would alleviate the emotional pain caused by that individual. However, that type of reaction seldom solves the problem. In fact, it is more likely to add fuel to the fire, rendering the situation worse off than when it began. That in turn leaves us ten times more frustrated, with no solution in sight. Another option in dealing with offenses is to cultivate:
-The character to remain grounded in love by not allowing the hurt to make us behave out of character.
-The character to remain understanding when sensitivity seems to be nonexistent.
-The character to remain true to yourself and your beliefs without wavering, especially under pressure.
-The character to remain loving toward anyone whose attitude is everything but loving.
In the end, even if we’re left disappointed and hurt, our conscience will be clear for having the character to remain kind and behaving in ways that pleases our heavenly Father. Having a clear conscience will generate peace even in the midst of turmoil.
“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3: 14-16
Meekness, kindness, and love are the antidote to hostility, hate, division, and violence. Dare to have the character to remain meek, kind, and loving in the face of the aforementioned issues. Don’t allow anyone’s negative attitude and behavior to make you adopt their choice of treatment of others (i.e. rudeness, inconsideration, discrimination, and hatred). It is best to choose love. Having the character to remain loving will always outweigh any unpleasant comportment.
Louise Beaubrun-Macaluso, PhD
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