It is comments like these that can create a sense of bitterness and distrust in the people around you. I admit I have struggled with this my life. Reading into what people are saying, and wondering if they are giving me a back handed compliment, or being passive aggressive. What I have discovered is that more often than not, it is not them, nor their intentions, but rather it was me, and this was usually just in my head. I have discovered that people for the most part are the diabolical geniuses I have given them credit for, and that many times they are just thoughtless. If not thoughtless then they are just so self involved that they don't see how their words effect other people. I discovered this in part due to my own thoughtlessness, and how my words effected other people sometimes in ways that didn't dream of nor desire.
So the question remains then what does one do in this world of langue? How does determine if a person's words is meant to be offensive or not? To answer this I suggest we approach people's words the way we should approach scripture. Reading the Bible is not about reading it, and then putting in whatever interpretation you want. Many do that, however if you want to truly understand what the text says, you should seek to find what the intention of the author was, and then you will know what he means when writes what he wrote. What was Paul's intention when he wrote, "for by grace you have been saved"? To understand this we look at the context of these words, within the body that they were written. So we look in the rest of the letter, but then we look at other works of scripture that he has written and we look to other books of the Bible to see how it connects with what they wrote, until we can get to a good idea of what Paul's intention was when he wrote those words.
I suggest that people approach the words of others in the same way. Instead of making our initial feelings about a statement the truth until it can be proven other wise, why don't with hold judgment and try to look more into what the person said, and see if they truly meant it as something hurtful, or if we misunderstood, or perhaps if they were being just kinda thoughtless. For our friends we can look at how they have treated us in the past, and see what they have said to others, and of course the greatest method of all, just ask them. Yes it is okay to ask someone what they meant by that statement if you want to know their intention. The trick though is that you have to believe them. I know for myself even if someone tells that they didn't mean to offend I can still feel like they did. Sometimes those feelings are correct, but more often than not, those feelings are wrong. We have to be careful with how much credit we give our feelings, and always seek to balance it out with reality, otherwise we can begin to view the world in way that is inconsistent with the way that it really is, which can be just as bad as trying to figure out how to go, with a map that is turned upside down. As Christians we recognize that how we feel can be inconsistent with reality. There are times when we can feel dirty, or guilty, or shameful. Times when we can feel like we are worthless, and yet those feelings do not change the fact that we are forgiven, washed clean, made right in God's eyes, and loved by the Lord.
In the same way how we feel about people's statements can wrong too, which is why we balance reason with feelings, and continue to seek truth, and be merciful and long suffering with friends even if they say things that can be thoughtless at times. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with this blog? Comment below, and let me know, and as always thanks for stopping by!