I'm going to share something that happened to me recently. I mentioned in the past that there can be misunderstandings in email. Well, I received a ranting, raging email from someone a few months ago. At first, I didn't know what to think because I never knew this person had such animosity towards me. But this email, said things I would never tell a worst enemy. That's how cruel it was. It was filled with hate and lies. I was so angry when I received it that I wanted to send a blasted email back and dispute every false allegation made against me. But instead, I restrained myself and sent a simple reply telling her she was wrong in her accusations and that she should be more careful in what she writes to me or to anyone for that matter, that her words should be truthful and factual. No one likes to be falsely accused or to read wretched words slathered about themselves. Unfortunately, my response or lack thereof, brought about more angry and belligerent rantings from her in her next email. I finally just sent another short reply stating how I wasn't going to participate in an "email feud" and that she shouldn't contact me unless she was apologizing. Needless to say I haven't heard a word from her since then.
I tell you this because I heard someone talking about avoiding distractions recently. I started thinking about what distractions really are. They are diversions, things that prevent someone from giving full attention to something else. I realized....People like her are distractions. They may be someone who you can't befriend, someone who doesn't like you, or maybe doesn't want to see you happy. Don't give them any power over you. You can't control them. But you can control how you react to them.
The first few days after this incident happened, I was so angry. Partly, because I felt betrayed. I couldn't believe someone could be so hurtful, and for her to do this a month after my Mom passed. Why are people so mean, I thought. I spent a day in self doubt, wondering if anything she said about me might be true. But after reflecting and praying, I realized that day spent in self doubt, was a wasted day. Never again will I allow her or anyone to make me second guess myself like that. I think we all have had someone who has tried to bring us down at sometime or another. I encourage you to not let that person tear you down. Many times, what's being said to you is more of a reflection of the other person and their insecurities and not really about you at all. Focus on the truth, who you are and what you stand for. Surround yourself with positive people and don't let these small things worry you. I call it seeing the big picture. What is the big picture? Well, for me, I remember the Bible passage, Matthew 22:36-40. The Pharisees asked,
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied, "Love the Lord, your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments."
I need to focus more on these two commandments. Let go of any anxieties or worry and just live according to these two principles. If you offer love and peace, but it's not well received or returned, it's ok. Keep focusing on the big picture, and everything falls into place. When you are confronted with insults or lies, you'll get better at disregarding the distractions, instead of reacting to it. As for my situation, I know I need to forgive her. Knowing life is short and precious, I just want a peaceful life. But I'm learning and forgiveness is something I'm still working on. But, yes, I will forgive.