What To Do When I’m Right And They Are So Wrong
It’s our overwhelming need for being free from blame that drives us into a weak place when something bad happens to us. For peace of mind we seem to need the reassurance that we are not to blame and so it is natural for us to attribute blame (rightly or wrongly) to another person. Once assigned, the blame stirs us our sense of justice (someone must pay) which in turn blossoms into resentment when they deny liability or scoff at our assumptions. We soon decide to use all means available to make sure they get to pay for their action and relationships are broken.
The problem? No one won! If our attribution of blame was reasonable it has produced nothing in the way of correction; if it was unreasonable (despite our strong assertions) it has produced a broken relationship.
So what did we gain? To save face we make sure others know how we have been wronged and soon we have supporters and “betrayers” fixed in our minds – the supporters gave us sympathy; the betrayers challenged our assumptions, our account of the “facts” and our conclusion. We push away those who don’t behave in the way we want since they are obviously not good friends.
Meantime we are locked up in bitterness and resentment and, justified or not, we are progressively disabling ourselves. At some level we know we are not doing so well and our response is to turn up the volume as if more bitterness will make everything okay once more.
Could it be the wrong direction? Is it possible we started off headed the wrong way so going further and faster is not a viable solution? We can see tentacles of judgment, blame shifting, and evil which have wiped out our ability to operate as people of faith. We are drifting away from the mothership!
We can all argue all day over who is right and who is wrong but the problem is that once we have worn ourselves out, it makes no difference, we are still faced with getting back on our feet and getting on with life. True, we may be seriously hurt, but how does generating bitterness and acrimony actually help us heal?
It’s only when we let go of the hurt that healing can begin. We have full choice over when we will let it go, no one is forcing us to get all bitter and twisted. Since it only serves to disable us further, the most intelligent response is to stop the process early. In our post on How To Be Resentful we noted the need for swiftly ridding ourselves of the resentment when we are hurt, recognizing that the judge is God, not us.
What we often call “forgiveness” is really only a part of the total process. “It can result in release for the offended party but it won’t produce healing in the relationship between offender and offended. More is required. It’s worth doing since it brings freedom but there’s a higher road we need to learn – that of refusing to take offense or to feed resentment in the first place. It’s a choice we each can make so why not drop the score-keeping and get on with life?” That way there is no need for us to be continually “forgiving others.”
Once we recognize that our resentment is in fact a frustrated, self-destructive response based on the distorted idea that we are qualified to be the judge and jury on what we perceive other have done to us, we are well on the way to climbing out of this mess. About now is the time to raise protest about how our case is different because: of the brutal destruction of our innocence, the action was deliberately done, inspired by pure hate and evil, has left us with indelible memories and even physical disability . . . Now all of these things may be true just as they may also be distorted and inflated.
The facts remain:
- we have been hurt and it really hurts.
- someone else did it so they must be to blame, or . . . ? [Assigning blame doesn’t actually help.]
- everyone has an excuse or a justification to present
- no one accepts liability, every one blames someone else
- there’s way too much emotion and heat to come to a reasonable solution.
- we need time to come to grips with our emotions and gather our thoughts
It’s only when we can drop the sense of being offended and vindictively hurt that we can begin to heal, so why let it drag on?
[ Remember, if you are in a situation where abuse is happening to you it is essential to get out of the danger as the very first step to resolution. When your abuser tells you that he/she won’t do it anymore it is still time to get out of the situation so it can’t recur. When they plead with you to give them another chance you agree to do so only if others are involved to ensure the abuse doesn’t recur. That’s practical stuff that doesn’t need to involve resentment, bitterness or retribution. Sad outcomes and unnecessary pain are the most common experiences of people who try to deal with abuse on their own. Never underestimate the value of intervention which specifically addresses the abuse.]
Forgiveness is still a ways down the trail – it comes when the “offender” and “offended” can work out how to resolve the hurt and restore the relationship to “better than before.” It’s a worthwhile investment since it eventually produces enhanced relationships in way nothing else can do.
There’s but one Judge – he alone is impartial and just.
The experiences of life can hurt like crazy so we aim to minimize the hurts and avoid making ourselves an emotional or spiritual cripple.
Let the Judge be the judge – no help required.
Build creative and healthy relationships – you are not the victim, you are a valuable person with a lot to offer – build relationships that prove it.
Avoid building battle lines and factions – life is too short for that, we have too much good yet to do – we don’t have time for warfare among ourselves.
In the final analysis, God is more concerned about our attitudes and our trust in him than our enraged demands for “justice” – Faith tells us to trust him and get on with obedience while we “ let” God be God.
When we fix our attention on becoming men and women of God with enormous potential and a calling to fulfill, our minds are filled with thoughts of vision and powerful ministry. We don’t have room for resentment and the shackles of bitterness. Instead, we are inspired to take control of our thoughts, directing them to focus on creative ministry.
- How To Be Offended, Resentful and Forgiven All At Once. (citesimon.com)
- Grudges and Resentment? Forgiveness is better (spilledcookies.com)
- Resentment is a one way street to nowhere (spreadinformation.wordpress.com)
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