“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” [Proverbs 19:11]
A co-worker offends you or undermines you or a friend says something offensive or your significant other forgets something they promised or you are disappointed with an outcome, are you first and foremost patient?
I am not.
I have a way with words, and when I’m angry I can cut deep with a few sentences. I am not patient, I am not steady or understanding. I do not wonder what is going on with someone else’s life that he or she tries to hurt mine. But the bible says it is one’s GLORY to overlook an offense. “To OVERLOOK?! As if” is what you are thinking because it is what I am thinking.
Let’s think about it though. First, and this is a personal mantra, it is usually never about you. We are by nature self-absorbed, so the odds are that somebody’s offensive behavior is mostly about themselves. Very rarely is someone intentional in making you angry – it’s more likely their intent is to get home faster if they cut you off, or make themselves look better if they undermine you in a meeting or they had an emergency so they couldn’t call you at the promised time.
So if you start there, it’s easier to be less angry. Then, think about this: who cares? So what – your coworker is trying to make you look bad? Don’t fight fire with fire, fight that fire by being kickass at your job and getting your work done on time. A guy cut you off in traffic? Oh well – stay within the speed limit so you dont, I don’t know, crash and spend money on fixing your car and paying tickets.
Now we’re at a place where we’re thinking, OK I get that but I’m REALLY UPSET even if it wasn’t intentionally about ME. It’s about me NOW because I’m MAD. Alright first, stop yelling at me. Second, two options: pray about it or forget about it and say three things that make you happy. Or that were good in your week. Or that you’re grateful for in general.
Caveat: if somebody consistently offends you, or something happens that is truly not okay, you do have a right to be angry. One thing I do is wait a full 24 hours before bringing the subject into conversation with the person. By that time, you’re speaking from a place of logic based on emotion – rather than a place of you’re wrong and I’m upset. And another thing? If you have ‘friends’ who constantly hurt you, dump them. End that friendship. Life is far too short to spend time on people who don’t respect, love or help you. Any relationship should only add to your life, rarely should it subtract.
And we’re back to good. See how easy that is? Just takes a little bit of patience, gratitude and respect for yourself. Bonus: consistently getting angry contributes to your chances of heart disease. Patience, young grasshopper.
See you tomorrow.
Today is day eighteen in my 31 days of patience series. For all posts in the series,click here.