On Thanksgiving morning, I received a text from someone I didn’t know. It was a “go fund me” request and I didn’t know if it was legitimate or not. I asked who they were but within a few seconds, there was another text. I realized then that this was a group text.
This other person responded in a tone that was so vulgar and nasty it made my stomach hurt. It continued on for some time.
Each time I read the next text out of curiosity. Each time, it felt like someone invaded my space without permission.
My gut reaction to this group text was unsettling and it stayed stuck in my mind. After a full day on this text thread, my kids blocked the number for me.
From the very first text, I was in disbelief that someone would respond to a need in such a manner, regardless of its legitimacy.
Then I realized my own need to respond to the vulgarity I was reading was in the same manner that I was repulsed by. I wanted to lash out and give her my little lecture about her tone, her language, and her very rude response to a need. My space was being invaded and she had no right to jump into my world without being invited. I wanted to tell her to stop talking that way!
I couldn’t believe my own desired response! Especially since I often say, “my response is my responsibility.”
My momma always said, “be kind one to another,” but I didn’t want to be kind to someone who was so rude! Why should I? She interrupted my peaceful holiday!
All these bad and negative thoughts festered in my spirit and nearly stole the goodness of the entire day.
By the end of the day, I realized this is the battle we face – getting even or giving grace.
It’s easy to go with our natural response of anger when someone does you wrong but acting out of kindness takes effort and discipline. Sometimes I lack both but my momma spoke these words into my little heart, mind, and life every day as I was growing up and the seeds she planted gave me the discipline I needed on Thanksgiving Day to be kind. (The values she taught have far exceeded her lifetime.)
Our families, communities, and country all need a good dose of simple kindness and courtesy. The truth is that we have no control over anyone except ourselves, and to be nice to the unkind is a discipline that takes a lifetime of practice.
However, we can be an example for others and through our influence do a small part in spreading kindness.
Next time someone is rude to you, take a minute and wait to respond until your anger has simmered down. Our words have the power to give life or to create further chaos.
Or, you can do as I did on Thanksgiving Day and simply don’t engage. There is power is silence as well.
Either way, you are responsible for your response.
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