Human nature is interesting, and predictable. Whether it is the ill-mannered musings of political personalities or news anchors’ inimicality, lately the worst of rudeness and incivility has been on full display. Words can do damage. Words don’t miraculously project from a mouth, they are prompted by the heart. There is a lesson here for each of us and it goes something like this; when a person has been wronged, or believes they have been wronged, or if their preference/belief system has been challenged they react. All of us have our own sense of justness and the need to right what we perceive to be a wrong; i.e., justice. Unfortunately, many times our sense of being wronged has more to do with our own loss of power and prestige rather than defense of some empirical maligned truth. I have spent years trying to help people cope with and conquer the disasters of their lives and to move to rebuild broken relationships and dreams. One thing is for sure, you will never rebuild what is broken in your life by trying to destroy the offender.

Seven things regressively happen when anyone heads down the backroad of selfishly trying to right wrongs or improperly respond to a real or perceived offense. Let‘s just call the event (or events) the “Pain Point.” I am not trying to diminish anyone’s disappointment, or pain or heartbreak. Terrible things happen in this world, whether it is tragedy, trauma, loss, abuse, stress, neglect, disagreement, terror, or other human ills it is our response that makes the difference, not the circumstance. When a Pain Point occurs we have a choice; we can take proper steps to mitigate the personal damage that will come or we can be caught up in the pursuit of our own justice and start down the road that leads to emotional/spiritual ruin. In a nutshell, when a Pain Point occurs we must choose to release personal offense and choose forgiveness towards the offender, whether the offender in our eyes is another person, a group, ourselves, nature or God. To not do so puts us on the path of the winding spiral of blame and victimization. Forgiveness is the conscious choice to not be the arbiter of punishment. Because, to do so produces these seven downward steps which are all a result of the dirty wound of bitterness; (1) Refusal (to forgive), (2) Rejection, (3) Resentment, (4) Retaliation, (5) Rage, (6) Retribution (violence), and (7) Removal. Unforgiveness always leads inevitably to hatred and violence. One of the reasons that people will not forgive is because they have never received forgiveness themselves. Be a life changer, offer forgiveness. When you refuse to forgive you are, in effect, tethered to your object of scorn. Forgiveness does not mean that you grant the offender a “pass.” It means you choose to not be the instrument of punishment. Forgiveness is hard. You need God’s help to do so.

So, when you see this process played out publicly or privately pray for those acting out. Respond directly, but kindly and softly. Understand that these people have unresolved issues and need God’s grace. I encourage you to read my longer writing on this topic on my web site; The article is “The Twin Towers of Torment.”