Junior High School called and it wants its hurt feelings back.
Oh, Middle school. This demographic gets a bad rap sometimes, but I (usually) enjoy these humans, even though extra grace is often required.
This stage of life is challenging for most. Many kids ooze insecurity, hold grudges, exaggerate stories, gossip, bully, and think narrow-mindedly.
Hmmm… Sounds like some grown-ups, doesn’t it?
Those of us active on social media see this type of behavior daily. It is oftentimes a mean scene on the World Wide Web, and in Junior High. Offense Gone Wild. Only, from my perspective, the kids aren’t as jaded as the adults and they forgive easier.
I was unfriended on Facebook for not liking someone’s celebration post, for not inviting someone to lunch, and blocked because I left an organization. I was reviled for my Christian faith and shunned because of a misunderstood family dynamic. Ah… the fun of social media.
My internet and other “real life”experiences, trained me to tiptoe around certain people, to consider my message at length before I speak, post, or send a text or email. I find myself worried that I might cause hurt feelings, even by the most casual-type of spoken or written word. I am a pleaser peacemaker and I fret that I may unintentionally offend these persons by just being me.
It is exhausting.
Most of us have experienced, seen, and yes, inflicted offense in life and online. One of my favorite books is Unoffendable by Brant Hansen. Here is the quote from the dedication page of the book:
“To all those who want grace for themselves but struggle to extend it to others.
Wait: that’s everybody.”
God is funny sometimes. As I jotted down notes for this post, a discussion took place between my twenty-one-year-old son and me. He asked me to stop making dentist and doctor appointments for him, he said he wants to make them from now on, and explained his reason. I was somewhat offended! My feelings, injured for a few minutes (because Mom knows best) until I laughed at the timing, and let the hurt melt away.
My word of the year is Surrender. One of my intentions this summer is in this area of offense. I strive towards a deeper compassion for the insecure, the offender, the grudge holder, the bully, the gossip, and the “unfriender”. Their actions betray a need for love. Their grudges show deep pain in deep places.
Secondly, I recognize that I must be me. I do not have the stamina or brainpower to walk on co-dependent tiptoes. This is not healthy. Furthermore, I choose to step in unoffendable shoes. And, tomorrow, when another son comes along with a mom issue, another family member decides to cast me out of their life, or I get unfriended, I will choose again to step back in those shoes. Extra grace is required along with humility, empathy, and prayer. Grace upon grace, just as God has given me.
Thanks for calling and asking for your hurt feelings back Junior High, we can learn much from you and yours. However, it is time to move on.
We live in a world ripe with hurt, abrasive judgments, intolerance, and offense. Remind us today that life is not about us. It is about you and extending your grace. Give us a heart for the hurting as we recognize their pain in their negative words and actions. Help us to respond in a healthy way to people in our lives. Thank you for showering us with grace upon grace. It is to your glory that we overlook offenses.
- Isaiah 61:1
- Matthew 5:44
- Ephesians 4:32
- Colossians 3:13