After managing to keep my tongue in check for the last three weeks I honestly thought I had handled the issue of rudeness and defensiveness well, until last night.
The rude woman I spoke about in The Power of Silence, exited the building at the same time I did. Just the sight of her made me angry, even before she sent one of her barbed comments my way. It was then I realized I may have held my tongue these last few weeks, but not my anger. Normal? Maybe. Right or justified? Not according to Scripture.
Matthew 5:43-48 was in my listed readings this morning. I have read Jesus' admonishment to love my enemies numerous times without more than an intellectual response. This morning the words cut right through my heart. I may be holding my tongue in response to this woman's rudeness, but it is a stony response, not a loving one. Ouch.
So, how do I managed to love her while she continues to throw her well aimed, poisoned darts? Good question, and one of the reasons this commandment is one of the most difficult to obey. I think Saint Paul had the right answer. He mentions all of the things he has suffered. They hurt, he did get angry, but they did not move him. He did not stay entrenched in those emotions, allowing them to come between him and his one all consuming goal, being with God. He let the disappointments and sufferings of this world roll of his back, focusing on his one purpose for existing, spreading the Gospel. I greatly admire his attitude and wonder how can I attain this equilibrium. Prayer is all I can think of.