Plank. Mote. Sound Familiar?

Why do we tend to focus more on the fact that others often hurt us with their words, however unintentionally, rather than on our own response to those people? How is that we forget that we are _not_ responsible for how others interact with us but rather we hold _full_ responsibility for how _we_ react to _them_? So often I see people around me snap at others merely because that person said something to them that happened to hurt, even if it was said to be constructive and in good faith that it would be taken well and in the spirit intended, that what was said was intended to encourage and build up and be constructive and not to tear down. It shouldn’t be happening, these negative responses. So what if constructive criticism wasn’t worded perfectly tactfully (this is all said with the understanding that both parties know that the criticism being given _is_ constructive and out of love because good, constructive criticism makes it clear at the beginning that it is meant for the betterment of another)? Can’t we understand and remember that we are imperfect creatures and that perfect tact is rare, perhaps non-existent? Why do we have to look out more for our own creature comforts, why do we focus so much on our pain and miss the big picture as a result, why do we fight so hard to keep our comfort zone, and risk damaging a good friendship to do so? Why do we forget that the one approaching us out of love and for our own good is doing just that, approaching us out of love and for our own good? Why do we get _so_ defensive when we feel even slightly offended or hurt? How come we don’t pay more attention to how we respond, to the part of the conversation that we can actually control (i.e. ourself), indeed the part that we are _fully_ responsible for? Where is the Christianity in snapping at someone, in responding harshly and out of anger? Where is the love of Christ in that? Where is our Christian testimony? What will others see when they see two Christians bickering and fighting like a couple of schoolchildren? Where is the light when it has become so dimmed by anger and bitterness? It’s actually pretty amazing how quickly an argument is defused when one party refuses to argue. It’s too bad that we all don’t do a better job of maintaining discipline over our own actions and reactions. Just because the other person is upset and angry and verbally abusive doesn’t mean that we also must be.

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