Fair Warning– The below post does contain a “bad” word or two. I did mention I’m a work in progress. And sometimes a “bad” word just feels more appropriate. And really… if it’s contained within the Bible, is it really a bad word? I’ve yet to answer that question for myself definitively, you?
A lot of people suck.
Too many people don’t know the meaning of the words kindness and generosity.
Hell, half the people on the planet I would SWEAR with 99.9 percent certainty are not even HUMAN. (More like Gremlins, circa 1984. With spiky white mohawks and stanky breath. Just sayin’.)
But that doesn’t mean we as people should falter in our efforts to show kindness and generosity to the world, even when we seem surrounded by gremlins and douche bags.
“But Cori!” you say… “Why should I be kind to someone who so clearly doesn’t deserve it? Why should I waste my energy being generous to someone who so clearly doesn’t appreciate my efforts?”
Which I’ll address with the following statement.
I believe in God, and I make no apology for it.
And (sometimes unfortunately for you and me) God says to love everyone.
Even the downright unlovable.
Or more specifically, even love your enemies, who, let’s be honest, feel pretty damn unlovable most of the time, don’t you think?
God says- Matthew 5:43-48 You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.
This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. (MSG)
The raw nitty gritty of the matter, is that it’s easy to be kind and generous to the people who reciprocate.
In fact it’s usually fun.
I don’t know how you were raised, but I was always raised with the mentality that you get more joy out of giving to the world than receiving. I was told to treat others as you wish to be treated.
And to really lay the clichés on thick… in life, in business, in love, in everything… you get back what you put in. (C’mon, what’s a good blog post without a good cliché or three?)
So I’ll share a theory.
I think as a collective, we were put here on this earth to learn how to be kind and generous people. (More God-like, if you will.)
And when you’re faced with hard situations, whether in your personal life or in your business, that put a lot of crappy douche bags and gremlins in your path, I’m pretty certain it’s because they are meant to teach you something about yourself that you probably wouldn’t learn any other way.
School of hard knocks and all that.
I know that “I” lean towards an asinine propensity for being determined to learn everything in life the hard way… how about you?
Life is a very short period of time in the grander scheme of things, when you stop to think about it.
You only get one chance at living it well, and you really can’t live it well if you’re living too small-mindedly to stop and appreciate the value of every person that crosses your path. (Yes, including the miscreants.)
It takes a special kind of person to stand up tall and not flinch in the face of someone treating you like crap.
It takes a special kind of person to stand up tall and decline to punch someone in the face because they felt like being an asshat that day.
Does that mean you shouldn’t stand up for yourself or others, or something you feel is right?
Of course not. You totally should.
But consider how you do it.
If it’s in a way that reeks of “revenge” or smells a bit like “retribution” wrapped up in “righteous justice”… is it really standing for something, or just standing for your own self-interests?
Consider your driving motives.
Are you standing up for something or someone because you feel unequivocally it’s the right thing to do? Or are you operating from a place of vengeful glee, happy to cut someone down because “they deserve it”?
If you’re secretly reveling in the whole dramatic unfolding, it’s a sure bet that your motives aren’t really as pure or as justifiable as you would like the world (and yourself) to believe.
Being kind and generous even to the people you think may not deserve it is a choice. It’s a choice you have to make on a daily basis. (Heh… sometimes even on an hourly one!)
I often call making that choice my fumbling attempt at grace.
Fumbling because of course I’m not always successful at it. Who is? It’s human nature to want to lash back at someone when you feel like you’ve been wronged.
It is human nature to want to go on the offensive and attack when you feel threatened or disrespected.
However, being kind and generous to people that suck is character-building in my book. And from what I’ve learned, in God’s Book as well.
And as dear old Ralph once said- “The force of character is cummulative.” Being kind to one person you feel doesn’t deserve it, builds upon the next kindness. As you practice this concept of kindness and generosity in the face of general douche baggery (totally a word) and mayhem, your character keeps building and growing as well.
And FYI- people with character are leaders.
They inspire. They motivate. They make others want to be better people too.
But I’ll be the first to admit…
It’s damn hard to be kind and generous to the douche bags and gremlins of the world.
Sometimes I just need a break from all this character building.