We each tell ourselves a story. We often replay that story over and over. However, often the story is either incomplete or incorrect. We are not objective. We are subjective individuals. If we could be 100% objective, we might be correct. But no one is.
For example, someone says or does something we either don’t like or that hurts us. Now, just because someone has done something to us that we don’t like, doesn’t mean that they hurt us. That person may have no intention of displeasing or hurting us. What was said or done is filtered through my interpretation, my thoughts, and my prejudices. Then, because we are so sure of our own interpretation, we form hard and fast conclusions. “I know why they said that. I know why they did that.” As a result, we begin to write our own story and each version often drifts farther from the truth.
However, we are missing something. We are missing a key piece of information that completes the story. We don’t know why they said what they did, or why they acted the way they did. Just because we think we know, doesn’t mean we know. See, it goes like this. In the past, we had an experience with a person who really hurt us or betrayed us. Ever since then, we look with a jaundiced eye toward everyone and interpret everything done through that filter. That becomes our story. We tell and retell it to ourselves. It changes with every telling, not for the better either.
True, we may be absolutely right in our story. Although, mostly likely, we have edited and added pieces of our story. Now the story is even further off than when it was first written.
What can we do? Forgetting is not an option. Our minds are such we will remember. I wish I had a nice, neat, quick and simple answer. It sounds so trite, but we will have to change the way we think. We’ll have to stop interpreting information we don’t have. We need to stop comparing present information with past experiences.
We have to write it in our minds, “Love does no harm to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10). If we take a look at the list right above that, it includes bearing false witness. If love does no harm, then we need to stop bearing false witness to ourselves. Every story we tell is not true. It may be partially true. We may be thoroughly persuaded it is true, but we are probably missing a key piece that completes the story. So, love does no harm, even to us.
Next, I would suggest we all take a look at the cross. What did Jesus do for us? Are we willing to do for others what He did for us? Even those who hurt us or do something we don’t like. Do we think Jesus liked being on the cross? Do we think He had nothing better to do that day? We need to stop wasting our time and mental energy trying to figure out why someone did or said something. It’ll drive us crazy. If we’d all do what Jesus did, then we’d have our answer.
Therefore, be longsuffering, kind, do not envy, or be puffed up. Do not be selfish, nor rude. Do not be easily provoked, nor harbor wrongs. Delight in what is right, and weep over wrong. Bear all things, believe all things, hope in all things, and endure all things. Love never fails. Try it!