When I Became the Bully

fakesmileIf I had a dollar for every time someone called me nice, I’d be rich.

But guess what? Nice doesn’t cut it. To quote Into the WoodsYou’re so nice. You’re not good, you’re not bad, you’re just nice.”

Nice. Yeah. Well, beneath my smile and oh-so-sweet exterior, you’d be surprised at how harsh I can be. It feels like I’m the expert at highlighting a person’s faults and picking them apart. They never know this, of course, because I act so “nice”. But in my mind? Ooh…my ugly comes out pretty quick.

Admittedly, many of my observations may be somewhat accurate… He really is incredibly rude to authority. She does come to church mostly to flirt with boys. He isn’t very considerate of other’s feelings. She is a drama queen who’s always whining…but I’ve handled my observations in a really unproductive way.

I recently had a friend, very kindly and privately, reprimand me for how I was talking about someone. They did it so tactfully, I didn’t even know I was being corrected until we’d finished our discussion! All they did was say, “I noticed you were saying this about So-And-So. It really hurts them when people say that.”

lucyNow, my first inclination was to reply with Well, if So-And-So would stop acting like that, I’d have no reason to say those things. I’m not gonna sugar-coat their stupidity. Just calling out the obvious. If they get so upset about it, they should change their behavior.”

But something stopped me. Sure, So-And-So may be challenging person for me. Yes, I may not agree with many of their life decisions, and yes I’d still love a chance to give them a piece of my mind…but I’m not in charge of So-And-So. I can’t change their behavior...I can only change how I respond to it…in fact, as much as I’d like to accuse So-And-So of being the root of all my problems…maybe I’m just as much to blame. After all, the super negative response of my heart towards them certainly hasn’t done anything to improve the situation. And gossiping about them? Yikes! Definitely not helpful.

Here’s the deal: I don’t want to be “just nice”. I’m done with putting on the sweet-girl act, but secretly wanting to slap people in the face…or TP their house…or simply tear them apart when they aren’t around to hear me.

I’m finished with only being fake nice to people’s faces. I don’t want to leave a legacy of being “just nice”.

I want grace to love, even when it hurts. Even when I have to humble myself and exam my own heart. Even when people have quirks that bug the heck out of me. Even when all I want to do is tell them my opinion of how they should live.

I want to leave a legacy of living a life of genuine love–not just gritting my teeth and forcing myself to tolerate someone.

Sure, I will probably have to fake it ’til I make it in some cases. But I’m no longer gonna let myself dwell in what I don’t like about people…I’m gonna exam my own heart, and ask the Lord to begin working in me…to give me His heart and His eyes for others…to help me shut up instead of giving into the temptation to gossip.

After all, the only person I can control is me…and pent-up agitation certainly wasn’t helping anything.

“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”~Luke 6:42

Love is hard…but I’d much rather fight for the truth of the Lord’s heart towards others, then allow myself to live life frustrated with everyone.



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