How many times in your life, has a friend or acquaintance tried to tell you what a rotten person someone else is? Many times it is even a trusted friend, who may give you an account of this horribly hurtful thing someone else did to them. It is a classic she said/she said, with girls (in particular) in middle school and high school.
What I have learned, over the years, is that most people do not set out to lie to you. But still, most people do not tell the whole truth. We don't always remember completely accurate accounts of what transpired. We can't always state, verbatim, what someone else said to us in a heated discussion. Maybe they didn't say it to us at all, and something got lost in translation coming from someone else! More often than not, we can't remember exactly what a person said at all, but we do remember how they made us feel.
Here's the thing about feelings. Feelings are rarely an accurate portrayal of another person's character. I have known people (myself included) to become very hurt over honesty. Honesty can sting like nothing else, but a person being honest with you about how they feel, isn't necessarily trying to hurt you. Maybe they have poor timing, maybe they are not very eloquent with their words, or maybe they're a little too blunt. Maybe, what is their honest and truthful perception, isn't yours. But we often become quick to paint ourselves as victims of their villainous plots.
Often, the people with the greatest potential to hurt us, are the people that we love most in this world, and if we are too quick to jump to conclusions and allow our emotions to rule a situation, we often say or do things we may later regret.
You know what happens then? You just became their villain.
I have been there. I have played both victim and villain. It doesn't have to be intentional to suddenly find yourself in those rolls, and they are both equally heartbreaking, practically interchangeable rolls.
You may not always have a say in whether or not you get hurt, but you don't have to be victim or villain in your own story.
What does it mean to have the same attitude as Jesus? There's a lot of material for this, but right here in Philippians 2, it goes on to say, "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross!" -Philippians 2:6-8
Jesus became one of us. And oh, how many villains He had! People slandered His name and His family. He had traitors and liars in His midst. He was persecuted both verbally and physically...too death! The devil, himself, tried to take Him down!
He put Himself in our shoes, and died right next to a common thief.
He did not play victim. He did not curse them. He did not discard them from His life. In fact, He did quite the opposite. He loved them and asked God to forgive them. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing" ~Luke 23:34
No one is asking you to be nailed to a cross or sacrifice your life for your villains. That has already been done.
But you don't have to be a victim. Most of us will never face anything as hard as the persecution of Jesus on that cross, thank God! Maybe we can try to extend a little grace and understanding to those who may seem undeserving.
As a wife, mom of 4, and business owner, finding time to spend in the Word, can be difficult, so I get it! Come join me each Monday for a simple message of hope, faith, and encouragement amidst some honest mommy moments.
Want the Monday Message sent to your inbox each week? Sign up here!