I was reading Ecclesiastes yesterday and this passage jumped out at me; "Also do not lake to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others." Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 What a hard concept to actually put into practice. I have been the victim of tons of contempt. I have figured out that people harbor ill thoughts and beliefs and then wait until you are on your back to pounce and dump. It's frightening but only if I take to heart everything people say. Funny how much resilient people seem to be able to ignore. As for me, I have a deep, deep fear of another's contempt. It has way too much power in my life even now.
What would it be like if I didn't take to heart everything people say? What if it didn't matter... not in the sense that I don't care but in the sense that it just isn't where my equilibrium lies? This is a place in my life God has worked on for years.
I'm thinking of C.S. Lewis's book "The Great Divorce" In it his picture of hell is just a tiny crack in the ground of heaven. We have made it this huge gaping void but perhaps I need to give it much less significance?
For me today, this passage is a picture of grace. I have known such grace from people who let me restate myself until I feel understood. It is so amazing to have someone say, "I heard X but I know you well enough to know you meant something else. Try again!" Or just to be given the gift of patience. What a gift for someone to see only the good in you in spite of your flaws and crooked features. I am the type that sees the splotch of ink, rather than the rest of the white paper. God forgive me... heal me!
God I want to offer that gift to others. I want to be resilient and patient and kind. (Listening) It is true that I have focused on people's faults... perhaps as a protection/defense? If I see another's faults maybe mine are more palatable? Such the opposite of grace.
Grace is such a powerful thing. Perhaps the one weapon we have to win against evil eh?