I read the message with a tight chest.  This particular nasty-gram (hate-filled e-mail) questioned my parenting skills and whether or not I considered the sacrifices other people have made for me.  In short, I was called out as heartless, self-centered and entirely self-absorbed.

What brought this on?  I told someone I wasn’t available to help with something on Wednesday afternoon.  Never mind that no help was needed until Thursday, I still got a nasty-gram.

The rest of the day Sunday was lost to stewing over the situation. How could she say that?  Is that really how people see me?  Lord, please don’t let my son end up in prison.  Cause that’s what happens if you’re a bad parent, right?

It took me all day to write a 4 line response.  All.  Stinking.  Day.

For the better part of a day, I wasn’t focused on my family, my friends or my Faith.  Nope.  I was fretting and doubting and obsessing.  And it didn’t do any good.  I realized that when I got nasty-gram #2.  Only this time, I paid attention to that still small voice.

Delete it.

What?  What if there’s something in there I need to know?  I had agreed to help.

This isn’t about you.  Delete it.

I clicked on delete and, amazingly enough, I felt no guilt.  You’ll get this if you’re Presbyterian.  Guilt courses through our veins.  We can be more than a little gloomy.

But this time I didn’t feel it. I felt relief.  I felt light.  It was a very un-gloomy feeling.

Turning the other cheek doesn’t just mean letting it go when someone wrongs you.  It doesn’t mean that you have to give them the unmarked side as a target for the next blow.  You have a third option.

Turn and walk away.  Turn toward the God who loves you.  Turn toward the God who doesn’t want you to hate yourself because of the lies someone has planted in your heart.

God loves us.  He doesn’t want us to hate ourselves.  If there is someone in your life who is making you do that, turn to God.  Draw on his strength and grace and mercy. You can choose to turn the other cheek, walk away, and refuse to engage.

–SueBE

 

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