Spring brings out the maintenance in me and I decided to prune the bushes and trees around our house. I was excited about my tasks and discussed the plan with Connye. Connye seemed to agree with the plans and off I went to please her with an improved landscape.
What I did not understand was we did not communicate, we just exchanged words. Connye came outside to evaluate my progress and went into shock then anger. Her prized tall, full hedge bush was now a short, thin, skeleton of itself. Explaining how it would all grow back healthier, prettier and fuller was to no avail. Our neighbors would soon see the debasement of her house. (It is our house but it is her house.)
I disrespected my wife and her house and although not my intention, this required my immediate sincere attention. I re-evaluated our earlier conversation and my neglect to ensure communication.
This caused me to consider why I get upset when another driver cuts me off, or someone interrupts a conversation without apology, etc. Their action, to me, demonstrates lack of respect.
Teaching and demonstrating respect and courtesy are fundamental to a diverse society. This social etiquette encourages interaction among people in a peaceful and secure manner. Norms, laws, rules and ordinances are put in place so a population may come and go in an orderly manner with minimal harm.
We are discouraged from committing crimes such as;
When the norms are disobeyed, we call the action rude, disrespectful or a crime and the offender a criminal.
As an instructor, occasionally a student would question the class rules.
Usually, the challenge was the first phase of their actions and if I did not respond with immediate appropriate action, the challenge would escalate. Rarely, I would have the student removed and notify their management. Some students would display respect after discipline, others were not allowed in any future class.
NOTE: My teaching career covered 40 years as an employed internal insructor and contracted external instructor and Christian classes. Environments included normal classes in a healthy economy, recessions, classes as part of an employee's termination package, etc. Each event had to be examined and managed in the context of the environment.
Paul, an elder friend, attended several classes I taught and often commented that the more I spoke about loving one another, the angrier I looked. Paul and I experienced similar emotionally traumatic childhoods. We maintained our composure in public and private but the rage was only a trigger away. Emotionally injured people can sympathize but not always help one another with improvement.
When I turned to God and began a Christian lifestyle, I thought and expected everyone in church was perfect. People were and are still human and always in process of reformation, until they stall. Some like the societal establishment but not the required emotional and spiritual changes. If you ever felt like you were attacked by a wolf in Christian clothing, you probably were.
Twelve years would pass before I began therapy with a restorative process lasting 20 more years. I equated pain and humiliation with love. Emotional diagnosis and healing can be difficult in our dysfunctional society.
A relative or friend harassing or beating me would often comment, “I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love you.” As I grew and considered the same type of treatment from strangers, the rationale seemed erroneous.
If this treatment displays love, then am I to do the same to those I love? If this is correct behavior, why do abusive people get arrested, sent to therapy and shunned by gracious members of society? I learned that dysfunctional males and females will use these types of explanations to excuse their ill-mannered behavior.
Our friend once declared:
Children are born innocent of social faux paws and are taught them by older children and adults. The fear of most adults desiring community respect is their children proclaiming their conversations in public regarding:
Let us correct the phrase, “I broke the law”. An engineer friend noted a law cannot be broken because it is immutable. One can obey or disobey a law but cannot destroy it. The declaration, “I broke the law”, implies I control the law and am not subject to it. Confessing obedience or disobedience admits I do not control but am controlled by the governing authority. Our nature resists subjection to anything or anyone.
When a bully or other criminal disobeys a law they declare their indifference to the rights of others and disdain for the law and its discipline. Offensive people depend on their victims honoring and consenting restraint by the very rules and laws they scorn.
A criminal does not expect a store manager or home owner to aggressively defend their establishment. In some states, the intended victim can be jailed for harming the assailant. This insult engenders fear, anger, and demands for justice. Society appears to respect the offender more than the victim.
During my life, I have met many hurt, injured, offended people (children to elder adults). Some were able to recover and enjoy wonderful careers, joy filled marriages, restored relationships with family, children and friends. These reconstitutions were the result of forgiveness by the victim.
Notice the victim has a choice to:
Forgiving my abuser is not my first choice BUT considering a better life for myself, wife, children and siblings, it becomes the ONLY VIABLE choice. Forgiving is NOT easy.
I envy the men and women equipped with a forgiving heart. These people are a joy to know and be with. They seem to naturally repel offenses and insults. I struggle to forgive a transgressor especially when they do not ask for forgiveness.
Ecc 12:13-14: This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: fear (reverence) God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.