From the first day I stepped into that office, I knew I was going to have a hard time working with her. She was frigid, distant and unfriendly in her behavior towards me.
You see, as a woman of color, I sometimes get treated unfairly by others who may actually have no basis for treating me like that. But, irrespective of how anyone decides to treat me, I always go out of my way to be the better person.
Because that’s what God has commanded us right? That, we should love our neighbors as ourselves!
Therefore, once I realized that this individual was on a mission to make my life a living hell at that job, I decided to use my head, as well as my heart.
I decided to love her regardless, but I also made sure I never got in her way.
Thankfully, my other office mates were more receptive and warm towards me. And I found solace in the fact that they at least cared enough to respond to me, whenever I said “hi” to them.
I remember one specific occasion when the other office girls decided that we should go have lunch at a restaurant around where we worked.
Obviously, it looked like my ‘self-imposed’ enemy had no idea that I was going to be tagging along with the group. However, once she found out that I was supposed to come along, she vehemently blurted out her disapproval, as well as her displeasure.
And because I never wanted to spoil the fun for others, I decided to stay away. As pained as I was, I still found it in my heart to forgive her. But then, I decided to do a thorough soul-searching that day.
“Why do I have to continue being nice to someone who treats me like trash?” “Why do I have to use every fiber of my being to show her love when she would only reciprocate my goodwill with hate and venom?”
While I ruminated over these things in my heart, I remembered that verse of scripture which said, it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
So, even if she continued to be very unwelcoming and stiff in her behavior towards me, I decided to love her regardless. I tried not to take whatever she did to me, to heart.
In return, I got spite, hate, and aloofness. I tried to live out what the Bible had said that it is more beneficial for an individual to be the one to give out to others, rather than be on the receiving side.
And that giving also includes love. It is still a better deal for you if you choose to give love to those you consider do not deserve it, regardless.
Show them love no matter how they have made you feel, or what they have done to you. And maybe (just maybe), your actions would eventually make them see reason, and turn over a new leaf.
Well, this my office foe eventually turned around to become my friend, because fate has a way of connecting us together, even when we may not want to get connected.
She got involved in a very terrible accident and had to be in the hospital for several days. And therefore, I decided to do what I know how to do best. So, I visited her at the hospital.
Making the decision to go visit her was a tough choice for me; given the way and manner, she had previously behaved to me. But I decided to go anyway.
And that decision turned out to become one of the best I have ever made in my life. Because, not only was she moved to tears when she saw me walk in with the rest of the group, but she became more emotional when she read the words of the cards we had each brought along with us.
Before we left her room that day, I had asked her if it was ok to say a word of prayer for her, and she had obliged. I decided to take it a step further and asked if I could come visit her on my own, after that day. And surprisingly again, she obliged my request.
That experience became a turning point in both of our lives, and after several years, we are still tight, sharing an awesome bond that I would never have thought possible.
And she is doing very amazing work for those in need where she currently lives.
So, what is the take away from this story?
It’s easy to show love to only those who show us love in return. But what about the people who do not deserve our love?
Those are the ones who have abused, shamed, ridiculed, spat, trampled upon or even discriminated against us. Don’t they deserve our love as well?
The truth is that they do. Regardless of what they do or have done to you, keep being kind and nice to them. But you should be able to use both your head and your heart while going about it.
The point is that you do not have to seethe fire with fire. Be the bigger person, become the example that God wants us to be.
And one thing we should remember is that as humans, we usually give up most of our defenses when we are in very vulnerable states (just like my friend).
And maybe, that person may soon begin to appreciate your uniqueness, and turn around to become a better human being.
However, regardless, remember that it is always better to give than to receive. Go out and lighten up your world!!!
All the very best,
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