If I never was looked over by a selfish person, I wouldn’t have learned to be unselfish.
If I never was treated poorly by a greedy person, I wouldn’t have learned to be a giver.
If I was never shown no support, I wouldn’t have learned how to be supportive.
If I was never shown a prideful person, I wouldn’t have learned to be humble.
If I was never told harsh words, I wouldn’t know how to speak kind words.
If I was never told a lie, I wouldn’t know how to speak the truth, no matter how direct it may be.
If I never felt unappreciated, I wouldn’t know how to show appreciation.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I am very aware & conscious of how I treat others because of the way I was treated. I miss a beat every now and then, but conscious… I am. The misconception is, because ‘whoever’ treated you like crap, then that give you a right to treat others like the same ‘crap’ because it was done to you.
That is not the way.
I was reading a Rick Warren devotional talking about loyalty in the workplace. He mentioned “God is more concerned with your character than He is your career.” But I liken to say, God is more concerned with your character more than any tangible thing you have! Your pleasant character is what makes you memorable. Your pleasant character grants you favor. People will choose someone who has a pleasant character over a person who doesn’t. You know why?
You will encounter more unpleasant, rude, self-centered people than you will a pleasant person any day. I reason because its so easy to be rude, and hard to be pleasant. It’s easy to ‘snap’ on someone because they were disrespectful to you. What’s hard is looking at that same person with gentleness and self control and return to them with a pleasant response. THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT IS.
But I encourage those who want God pleasing character to just look beyond yourself for a moment. In the places in your life where people have neglected you, remember how it made you feel? Wasn’t a beautiful feeling, right? So because you felt that way, let’s make an effort to not make other people feel that way to! In a world where it’s hit me and I’ll hit you (or anyone else) back, let’s us try to make an effort to go the hard route, for God. Instead of feeling ‘we have to own up to a label’, let’s show onlookers a new way to act and re-act!
Trust me, all the negative emotions I feel when I am discouraged, beaten, torn and unappreciated, I reflect on my ways, and become conscious of my ways from then on to others. I want my life to be impactful to those around me. And as Christ believers, we all should shed light in character in the world that is so dark, and hard to love.