How well I know that verse. Really, really well. But the sad truth is that it doesn’t always infiltrate my heart and mind before my tongue unleashes it’s wrath. And if that person has a reputation for being ugly and hateful, it lends a whole new challenge for me.
How do you deal with someone who is mean and spiteful? From experience, when I fly from the cuff, I almost always fail. On good days, I walk away and pray, and then pray some more while the event or conversation swirls in my head and clenches my stomach because I know a quick response will not be gentle or kind. It torments me at night, causing a loss of sleep.
And this is when I know I have to pray to let it go. I pray for God to reveal if there is more He wants me to do in the situation or if I just need to be quiet and move on.
That. Is. Not. Easy. To. Do.
When I take it to the Lord in prayer, I never have regrets and I can walk away. I wish I could remember that every time!
Now, let me address an issue that I know can be a problem for some of you. You do not have to allow someone who is mean and ugly to stay in your life. Being gentle doesn’t mean being abused.
It is perfectly acceptable to say, “This is not a healthy relationship for me and I am no longer going to respond.” Then you must stick to it. If it’s via email, have your email program set up so that any further contact goes to the trash and then leave it there. Don’t torture yourself further by opening the emails.
There are folks who feed on drama. They want to engage you. They want to prove that you are the one who is wrong. You are responsible for their lives being messed up. You get the picture. Those are not healthy relationships – family or not – they don’t need to be part of your life.
Pray for them and walk away. Walking away may be the gentlest and best thing you can do for both of you.
PS – I know I have failed in the past few weeks in this area myself. It’s a constant battle when words come quick to my fingertips/keyboard.
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