My mind…it’s a complicated place in there. I’ve got the spaghetti brain going on 24/7 (Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti), and there just seems to be more and more spaghetti hidden up there that I didn’t even realize existed before I said it out loud. These surprise, random comments usually just make me laugh. My husband has gotten his fair share of laughs at my expense 🙂 But some of these thoughts are embarrassing. Thoughts where once they’ve been brought to the front of my brain, I find myself thinking, “Do I really feel that negatively towards this person?” Or, “wow, that was a mean thing to think about someone.” Or, “you’re being extremely judgmental Nicole, cut it out.”
It’s become a battle with my own mind. Sometimes I find myself getting easily irritated with someone who don’t even know they irritate me. You know why? Because they really have not done anything that is deserving of that label. Others slip and say something rude or insensitive (I know I have), but that’s where we forgive and move on. But instead of forgiving the Christ-like way, I think I really forgive them and then keep these judgmental thoughts stored in my mind towards them. Which causes me to never cut them a break. In my eyes, everything they do is wrong. I’m not talking everyone I come in contact with here people, I just mean those one or two people who we seem to want to cast all of our problems and negativity towards. You know you have them too, you’re thinking of that person right now.
Those of us who struggle with this think that we can just fake it around these unknowing targets of our emotion. That we can stuff down how we really feel and just act civil around these people without them ever finding out. And you can maintain that attitude, at least for a little while. Until you explode on some poor unsuspecting person who has awful timing. But do you really want to live life that way? A fake, “lets just exist” type mentality? Where just the thought of one person can set you off and start controlling your thoughts? Where maybe you can’t even willingly be in the same room as that person anymore? There is so much more life waiting for you than this! But it starts with a conscious choice.
When we view people as a means to an end- to a friendship, to provide me with something, to fulfill my needs, to treat society a certain way, as my newest project to help fix- then there will be so many disappointments in life and so many people who fail us. When they say something hurtful, we may find ourselves just stuffing down more and more negativity and judging their every move. But when we can switch our minds to view every person as someone who is broken and so in need of a Savior, just like us, then you will find yourself filled with so much more compassion and grace towards them. Towards everyone! It will flow freely from you without even trying, because that strength doesn’t come from us. It is a supernatural strength that comes from God alone. You can only stuff down those feelings for so long before you will explode. Try talking to that person you’ve been thinking of while you’ve been reading this so far. I can promise you that it won’t be easy, especially if you have a lot of built up negativity towards them. But iron sharpening iron never is easy. It’s difficult. I promise you that in the end, your approaching them with a gracious heart is helping you, is helping them, and is advancing the kingdom of God, no matter how they receive it. Pray for the right timing. Pray for God to soften their hearts to be receptive and for you to speak in love and grace – to help them see the world a little more through His eyes.
When I started to recognize my negative thoughts I had towards a person in my life, I realized I wasn’t viewing them as a broken person. I was viewing her as someone who should be treating society a different way and expecting much more from her. But that’s when I realized how much more I need my Savior in every moment of every day! We can’t just stuff those thoughts down and hope that ignoring those feelings will change our hearts. We need a self-confrontation. A mind-change. A life-change. God will change your heart and your mind to be able to give people the grace they need, the same way He gives us grace. You just have to ask Him to help you take your thoughts captive. “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).