It's been a crazy couple weeks: county fair, state fair, farming, and work. During this time I have been tested more than once for what I believe in, in taking the high road, in being the bigger person. How often in life we are faced with challenging situations that check us for what we believe in, stand for and truly want to be known for? I have had more than my fair share of successes and failures in my short 32 years, but one thing I learn over and over again is that I am so much more than my successes and failures. I have recently used this phrase: "My past with not define me but refine me". When faced with challenging situations I have tried my best to evaluate all benefits and consequences of my choices, but at the end of the day I have to be willing to take responsibility for my choices no matter what may come. And then, I learn from those benefits and consequences. It's the learning part that becomes so critical for growth and I am still a work in progress on that.
Lessons learned this past week include that some people will hate you no matter what you do. It's the truth. It doesn't matter how much I can explain myself or defend myself, certain people will only hear what they want to hear and see what they want to see. I stand where I stand and I am coming to terms that I will upset them for holding true to my integrity and strength. I have always tried not to outright offend people and be kind, I know I have failed some times, I am willing to admit to those times and take my responsibility in those situations. In this situation I was in the "right" and just, but it doesn't matter. The truth for me is that hatred that I feel towards me is real and it hurts. It hurts when we try so hard to defend what we know to be just, truth, and fair only to be persecuted for it. I keep playing a quote from Matthew 5:10-12: Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I will not back down from my stances in life, in fact I find myself more convicted. Part of that ever growing integrity includes being empathetic to those who do hate us. So this week have been trying to pray for those who hate me. Not that they learn to "like" me again, but that whatever they have going on in their lives can be healed by God's everlasting love. It's a an incredibly humbling experience to pray for those who hate or taunt you. Today, try praying for those who hate you, you may be surprised by the love and grace you will feel.