With Christmas this month, I fondly remember my favorite inspiration from Jesus. “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” Imagine the nobility of those words. Think deeply for a moment, could you or anyone you know do this at a time when you are being persecuted? I chuckle as the first thing I think about are dogs. They are experts at forgiving us with their perpetually wagging tails, and we in turn forgive them. I have a beautiful black lab, and no matter what she does to misbehave, I forgive her and continue to adore her because I know that she doesn’t know any better. It is simply her nature. Isn’t this often the case with humans, the ones that make up our family, friends, community, and work colleagues? Sure… I know you are thinking that they DO know better! Maybe they do, but innate tendencies take over and they slip up without realizing it. The point here is that Jesus did not complain about others knowing better, or what they SHOULD have, or COULD have done differently. He very simply took responsibility on how He would manage the situation He was placed in. He chose to think and act with nobility and forgiveness and subsequently gave us that profound guidance “Forgive them for they know not what they do”.
As the holidays are upon us, I read many articles both online and in print on how to manage the holiday stress of difficult people whom we interact with… particularly visiting relatives. How do you feel about incorporating Jesus’ words in to your toolbox of stress management? How can you forgive your sister in law for her curt remarks or your colleague for his insensitive gift? Think about what irks you, who irks you, and why. Perhaps you want to write this down in a private journal that you can reflect upon. Then think… how will you forgive them and not take their actions personally? What three specific steps can you apply this Holiday season to truly live by Jesus’ words? Perhaps you would like to write these down too. You might want to use them again!
Since I am a parent coach, we have to incorporate some parenting here, so remember that your children are closely observing you and learning from you. Do you want them to grow up constantly frustrated with other people’s insensitive behaviors or do you want them to have a toolbox of effective self-soothing and noble behaviors (by the way… this is a part of emotional intelligence which you can read more about on my website www.ontheballparent.com )? If you can overcome your frustrations and apply tools like Jesus, you will have created the ultimate win-win situation for yourself, your watchful children, and of course those whom you interact with. Wouldn’t that be a tremendous achievement that you can carry in to the New Year!
Any examples you choose to share in our community forum would be greatly appreciated by all.