September 4, 2014

Returning the Favor

So, this subject just kind of came on my mind this morning. And, I must say, it is frustrating. I see it and hear it every day; some days it frustrates me, some days I go right along with it.

We are so inundated by making ourselves happy in this world. And, I don't mean following your dream or anything like that. That's great. I'm talking about our relationships with people. I read a quote by Meryl Streep on facebook that somebody shared that frustrated me a little bit. Don't get me wrong, I love Meryl Streep, she's one of my favorite actresses, but think to yourself...see how many quotes you have read that sound like this:

I'm not going to be patient with people who aren't patient with me.
I'm not going to do things that make me unhappy.
I'm not going to give the time of day to people who don't give me the time of day.
I'm not going to love people who don't take the time to love me.
Life is short, I should not have to deal with people who are mean to me.

All of these statements are looking out for one thing:   ME.
These ideals have been born out of American idealism and self promotion. I don't know if these statements ever strike you as self-indulging. They do for me. If you take a minute to think about these statements, you have to take a minute and think about the person on the other side of that. Sure, I agree that spending time with people who are mean or who are bad influences isn't probably the smartest plan, but not associating with those people at all? Chances are, they need someone to talk to. Chances are, they've had it rough. Now, we've all had it rough, but nobody copes in the exact same way. Bullying is awful. But the bullies you hear about usually have a rough home life, or they're acting out because a family member just died. I'm not condoning their actions. They are wrong, and they really don't have an excuse, but some just need a person to hold them accountable, to love them through it. Those people that "don't deserve your time" probably need someone more than ever. As Christians, I feel as though we should set the example and take the time to love those who don't love us. We should take the time to "deal" with people who aren't the nicest. We should be patient with those who don't return the favor. It's all one big cycle and sometimes you can change a person's life by being present. It is just something to consider in a world where self promotion and self indulgence is an everyday presence.

Obviously, every person is a different case. But, I'm just telling you to take these statements with a grain of salt. Some people, no matter how hard you try, just aren't going to be ready to listen to you. Those people may need some time, but that doesn't mean you drop them completely and no longer give them the time of day. For your own sake, sometimes you need to take a break from those people, but telling them they're not deserving of your love, time, or energy? Maybe not, but let's not forget... technically we aren't worth God's love, time, or energy. That's what redemption is for. And that's why we need to be grateful for Him giving us those blessings every day. It's hard to reciprocate good things to people who treat us badly. I know, I struggle with it too. I also have to improve on it. I have this attitude without even realizing it at times. Take a moment out of your day and read the bible verse below. I read it and had to include it as it speaks exactly to this issue.

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
-Luke 6:32-36

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