Over the past year or so, my attention is drawn to how blindly we go through life, oblivous to the needs around us. When we do become aware of them, we often say and do things that are thoughtless and than plead ignorance if our thoughtlessness is brought to our attention. In other words, ignorance justifies thoughtless actions on our part. It is one thing to make a blunder and then apologize and try to correct it, resolving to try to be more mindful next time. It is another to excuse our behavior, even if we were well-meaning.
My husband taught me a valuable lesson early in our marriage. When he became aware that something he had said and done had hurt my feelings, the first words that came out of his mouth were not, "I didn't mean it that way." His first words were, "I'm sorry. I am so sorry I hurt your feelings."He then said, "I did not mean to hurt your feelings but I did. Will you please forgive me?"
That incident happened about 34 years ago and while I do not remember what he had said/done to hurt me, I remember his apology word for word as well as the lesson behind it. Whether it was intentional or not, we need to recognize that we have hurt someone by our actions and/or words and we need to acknowledge it and apologize rather than justify our actions.
We also need to do something else. We need to pay attention to what happened and learn from our mistake. Perhaps it is a matter of speaking too hastily and not waiting to get the whole story. I do that far too often. Perhaps we need to learn to listen better. I know I do. Maybe we need to learn how to try to put ourselves in that person's shoes. What would we want someone to say... or not say. We cannot, by any means do this perfectly but it is a start at developing empathy.
The very best thing we can do is ask God to give us wisdom and guard our tongue. We must learn to ask God to help us toknow when to speak and when to listen. We need to ask Him to speak through us rather than try to think of clever things to say.
The Holy Spirit will help us know what to say and do but we must be proactive. We must first ask Him to do it. Are we?
"Remember we more than conquerors in him who has conquered our comfort zones and set us free from the familiar to step out into the unknown. Today the Holy Spirit calls us from the natural to the super natural walk." ~ So true, K!
AND... this too: "The very best thing we can do is ask God to give us wisdom and guard our tongue. We must learn to ask God to help us toknow when to speak and when to listen. We need to ask Him to speak through us rather than try to think of clever things to say."