It is easy to respond harshly, cynically or irritably to those who respond poorly to us. The natural response is to respond back in kind. Or to confront. A loving response is to reply with kindness and see if you can uncover the pain that is causing their reaction to you.
Sometimes pain is public like when one loses their job or a family member dies. Most pain is held in private hidden from the outside world: marriages in crisis, severe financial pressure, decisions that need to be made. Everyone has either public or private pain. Usually it is private and until we understand the issues someone is dealing with we cannot understand them - or their reactions. Once we do, we can not only minister to them but understand why they responded the way they did.
We live in an increasingly polarized and busy world where relationships that allow us to share deeply are becoming more rare. Being sensitive to those around us and responding to them in kindness, knowing that we don't know their struggles, is a posture of love that can open the door to better understanding.
TJ Addington (Addington Consulting) has a passion to help individuals and organizations maximize their impact and go to the next level of effectiveness. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Creating cultures of organizational excellence."