Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.
On December 22, 2001 ago a man named Richard Reid tried to light a fuse in his shoes with a match while aboard American Airlines flight 63. His shoes carried 10 ounces of C-4 explosives, more than enough explosive to blow a whole in the airplane. He was subdued by passengers. Concern about bombs possibly concealed in shoes led to the new requirement of all airline passengers departing from an airport in the United States having to pass through airport security in socks or bare feet while their shoes are scanned for bombs. Now millions of people daily have to take off their shoes before they board a flight as their shoes are checked for bombs all because of one stupid person committing one stupid act.
In the course of life we are sometimes unaware and underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals in our own lives. We do not realize sometimes that dealing and/or associating with such people can turn out to be a costly mistake.
Those of us who act and behave normally have difficulty in conceiving and understanding unreasonable behavior by such type individuals. In this piece I will look pragmatically at our daily lives. In our lives we are all able to recall occasions in which a person committed a stupid act against us which hurt us and/or resulted in our own personal loss. But when we reflect honestly we will realize that events such as these do not punctuate our daily lives. We must set our minds that we will not allow the single act by one individual in our life to destroy our time and/or energy and/or appetite, cheerfulness and good health. This act by one single person may have caused us embarrassment, difficulties and/or harm.
Loving and/or caring about someone makes us feel vulnerable. It opens us up inside and it releases our heart and allows others to get inside of us and either bring us joy and happiness or messes us up. As we interact in life we meet people and open up and inevitably we give them a piece of ourselves. Then it happens, they hurt us and we feel that our life isn’t ours anymore, they have taken it away from us. If and when that happens, we then build up walls and defenses, we cover ourselves with armor, thinking that this will keep anything or anyone else from hurting us. We think by taking these drastic actions we keep we will keep that one stupid person from coming into our life.
The point I am trying to make here is that if you get messed over and hurt by someone, you might make a decision to never let that happen to you again. The decision in itself may be fine, but we have to be careful not to make blanket policies regarding our lives that will affect and impact our daily interactions as we associate with other people. For example, lets say that someone from Indiana messed you over, so you made it a rule in your life to never, ever interact with anyone from Indiana again, so you wouldn’t get messed over again. Doesn’t make sense does it? I know that this is a simple example, but the fact is that people impact our lives in negative ways at times and we sometimes allow one single stupid act to dictate the way we live our lives as a result.
Simply because one type of individual may hurt us in a certain situation does not mean that we are going to be hurt every time by every other individual when we find ourselves in that same situation again. Putting up walls and barriers to prevent a recurrence of the first event could prevent good and positive events from occurring in our lives in the future. As life goes on, there are many instances which are negative and will occur in our day-to-day activities, and if we are not careful over the years we may end up carrying around bags and bags of resentment, hate, fear and prejudice that in fact end up causing us more damage than the individuals who did the initial damage to us to begin with.
Hebrews 12:15 Make sure that you exhibit kindness from God and watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, which will corrupt you and those around you.
We see them every day, the years of pain and resentment are easily visible on their faces; men and women who have carried around year after year the negative and hurtful acts by other individuals in their lives. It is important to resist the urge to punish everyone in your life for a single hurtful act by one individual in your life. When an event occurs in our lives by the hands of another individual, we need to step back and look at the big picture, and try not to focus on the single act by the one hurtful person. When a hurtful act by a single individual occurs in our lives, it causes our emotions to be flooded and clouds our otherwise clear thinking. It can lead to thoughts that everyone is awful and the whole world is out to get us. We need to look at the bigger picture which is that this is not reality and there are far more people in this world that want to do us good and love us in healthy relationships.
The act of getting hurt is but part of the reality of the human experience. We too ourselves are guilty from time to time of hurting other people by our thoughts, actions and words. No matter how the hurtful act occurred, it is not the act against us that is ultimately important, but the way we deal with it that matters. We can learn to shrug off stupid acts by other people or we can make it a point to carry them around, voicing our indignation to anyone who will listen for the rest of our lives. No matter how someone may treat us, we must honestly realize what living with resentment in our hearts does to our own lives. Living with resentment and hate continually in our hearts will resign us to being one of those individuals mentioned above, with the hate and anger evidenced by the lines upon our faces represented by the deep scars in our hearts we carry around as unholy badges to the atrocities we feel have been committed against us. We do not always have to forget, but we must learn to honestly forgive those who have wronged us, freeing us from carrying around their hurtful baggage for the rest of our lives. We cannot go around continually burning bridges in our lives that were once the pathway to healthy relationships, doing such will have dire consequences on our future.
Every time that a person wrongs you, think of all the people in your life that love you and did not wrong you. We need to learn to let the acts committed by stupid people go, and realize that we can’t prevent bad things from happening in our lives, but we can prevent them from molding and shaping the way we live our lives in the future. We must resist the urge to punish ourselves and everyone else for one stupid person’s act. In doing so, we will free ourselves of others’ stupidity and allow the love of Christ to flow in us, through us and from us as we interact with others in our lives on a day-to-day basis. Instead of carrying around bags of pain and resentment, we can then carry bags full of joy and blessings to distribute to those around us.