Imagine a world in which no one was offended.
Throughout my life, because of my love of being free of social constraints and my skills of pushing my joy to over the top levels in the midst of people, often others have questioned my sanity – it has always been joked about that i’m stupid, or mentally challenge or truly insane.
I’ve learnt how to shrug off these observations as almost jealous stabs at what they themselves really want – freedom.
Sometimes the shrugs don’t always get rid of all the hurt. Sometimes light jabs get through my armour and do damage. Especially when the weapon is wielded by someone i highly respect.
So a subtle joke was made about how a certain person had visited a mental hospital and didn’t see me there.
In an instant my offended defense mechanism flared up. I got my sharpened sword out to attack back but almost instantly deflated. In an instant i had gone from extreme hurt, to offense, to revelation, to understanding of the joke. I made an off hand comment that almost masked my instantaneous wounding but the conversation flowed.
Later walking out of the bathroom, this man, who over the last year i have grown to genuinely love the company of and respect his role in my life, looked me in the eyes and apologized if the joke offended me. I smiled.
Neither of us wanted to hurt the other but circumstances meant that we could have ended up tearing strips off each other and destroying a budding friendship between a very wise man and a strangely hairy kid.
Multiply this 7 billion times. With individuals with more relationally creative pasts, riddled with offense, battle scars and broken hearts.
People have never been the enemy.
And the more we realise that, the less offended we will get when we realise that evil goads us at every turn to choose evil and not good. Destruction and not relationship.
If people aren’t the enemy, then they are friends. And what is nice to do for our friends?
Conflict resolution -> NEXT POST