It would be naïve to believe we as human beings would get along with each other in all situations. Everyone has their own personalities, and it’s inevitable that disagreements will happen. It’s how we respond that makes the difference.
I once had a misunderstanding with a co-worker. With these misunderstandings came a lack of communication which resulted in our egos getting in the way of us resolving the issue.
It was a difficult time. I didn’t know how much longer I could handle the toxic environment. It was getting to where I was feeling sick about going to work.
We spent a year and a half experiencing this negative environment. We were both angry, and both resented each other.
When you’re unhappy for 8 hours a day, it’s hard to turn your happy side on during the remaining hours of the day. The negative energy was leaking into my personal time. I felt my energy was moving over to the dark side and it was consuming me.
I spent time in introspection and realized things weren’t getting better because I hadn’t truly forgiven her. On the surface, I was acting as if things were fine, but deep down I knew they weren’t. Things were not going to improve unless I figured out how to forgive her.
It was at this point I spoke with God. I had enough and begged God to tell me what to do. I remember saying out loud: “God I will do anything to make this work, please tell me what I need to do. Give me a sign”
The very next day God gave me a sign of what I needed to do.
For Lent, I’m reading the Book of James. As I read the 2nd part of chapter 1 , it reminded me of this past event in my life.
James describes an analogy of looking in the mirror to show that the more we follow the Gospel, the more we will become true to who we are and find true happiness.
The mirror could represent two things:
- Self-examining our behaviour, as we spend time in introspection, we learn who we truly are. If we take our eyes of who we are, we are much more influential in allowing external factors affect our behaviour. We lose focus on our goals and let our emotions (anger, resentment, etc) get the better of us.
- God is in all of us and we were designed in the image of God. When we look in the mirror, we are looking at God and we have access to this divine, this goodness, patience. We just have to follow the Gospel.
James says whoever believes in the Gospel but doesn’t follow the Gospel, is someone who is forgetting their purpose and what God designed them to be.
Following the Gospel, and ‘looking in the mirror’ and examining our own behaviour will shed light on ourselves and show if we are in fact living as the person God designed us to be: humble, forgiving, patient and reflective.
The mirror is a reminder of who we are today and who we are meant to be in God.
After I begged God to show me a sign, the next day when I looked at my coworkers face, I saw something I hadn’t seen before.
I saw God.
I saw God in her and I saw that she was a human who was hurting – just like me. A part of me thought I may have had a small part to do with this hurting, and this rocked me to my core.
My intention was never to hurt anyone, it’s not who I am, and it’s not what I believe in. So, I humbled myself and shared what was on my heart. I shared what I thought I did to contribute to the toxic environment. I apologized for my behaviour and made it clear if my actions hurt her in any way, this was not my intention.
God didn’t design me to be angry and resentful. God designed me to love, respect, and be good to all people.
When you look in the mirror who do you see? Do you see God in the mirror? How is your behaviour with others? Are you living out the Gospel?
When we’re angry, we are unable to forgive and we start to form a grudge. It will start small and grow. This becomes toxic and we lose focus of what our purpose is and who God designed us to be.
James reminds us to get rid of this anger and be humble – and listen to that nudge inside you that is telling you to forgive – and only then will you find true happiness.
Since that day I humbled, our relationship is better than ever. I can’t say we won’t ever have another disagreement, but what I can promise is I will continue to look in the mirror, remembering the Gospel and being the person God designed me to be.
A person who is reflective, patient, humble and forgiving.