The anniversary of the death of the guy who raped me when I was 14, recently passed. It did not pass without my noticing it. I can’t say that it made me feel anything at all. Not happy, but neither was I sad about it. Rather, I felt kind of pensive for a moment, re- read and shared a blog post I had written about him with a few people, but otherwise, I went on about my day.
Weeks later, I found myself scrolling down my newsfeed on Facebook and decided to look at a mutual friends wall, to see if anything was written about him on that date.
Here’s the weirdness in this… I am not normally a nosy type. I am not one who feels the need to be in the know about things, I really don’t care to. I much prefer keeping to myself. This time though, I felt led to search.
My feelings towards the guy who raped me are peculiar too. I loved him. He was my friend, but that all changed with one bad decision-mine and his. I decided to have friends over in my mother’s absence, against her wishes and he took that opportunity to rape me. In the end, here’s how I feel about what happened: He had some things going horribly wrong inside of him. The act of raping me was more about that inner mess in him than it was about me. I was just there and unfortunately came face to face with his inner turmoil. If it wasn’t me, it would have been another.
Anyway, I looked at the mutual friends’ page and saw that a video had been posted where they took turns speaking about him. They honored him. I watched. After I finished watching, I noticed a few things, big things… Not only had I watched the entire video, I did not have a scowl or frown, nor did I feel angry or bitter or upset in the slightest. By the end of the video, I was smiling! They all had such good things to say about him, and, barring the transgression he committed against me, they described the guy that I loved dearly. A good guy. A guy who was protective, kind and caring. A guy who was fun to hang out with. Someone to know. Someone to love and be loved by. An invaluable human being. It felt good.
Skip to this morning… As I spent time with the Lord, I ended up reading Philippians 2. When I got to Philippeans 2:3, I stopped for a moment.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself”
“Let each esteem others better than himself”… I stopped to think about how I treat others. Admittedly, I am one of those people who loves people so it’s not as hard for me as it is for some to treat people well, complete strangers included. I love surprising people with kindness. My mind wandered though, to the harder to love types. The people who are mean, vindictive, hateful to the core. The ones who make you want to lay hands, steel toe boots, fists and chair upside their heads.
I asked the Lord, how on Earth was I to esteem such a person as better than myself. He answered in pictures and words. He played what I can only call a video, in my mind of exactly how to deal with one person who is being difficult should the need arise. It was beautiful, I hope I have the opportunity to minister to that individual. As the video played, He said that when people ‘act a fool’, they are not behaving in a manner that is consistent with who He created them to be, they are, in that moment, not being who they really are. Haven’t we all had those days?
I asked Him to give me eyes to see (and ears to hear) people as they have been created to be and to be able to treat them as such, not as their behavior indicates or warrants. Now, I’m not saying I’ll be stupid, so let’s get that out on the table. There are people who need to be forgiven from afar. There are people who it’s best to love from afar, lest they cause physical, emotional or spiritual harm to others. I just want to make sure I am doing my part in loving God’s creation. How someone else behaves, has nothing to do with my reaction or response. I get to choose that part. Hallelujah!!! People like to think they have no control. They don’t want to take responsibility for their behavior. They say a person made them mad or act ugly or whatever. I won’t be anyone’s puppet in that manner any longer. I have a choice. So do you.
Another thing to consider is our faulty hierarchy of sin. Rape warrants death or close to it, while lying warrants a slap on the wrist. What’s the difference really? Is it not all under the category of sin? Is it not all wrong and punishable? One thing that saddens me is how soon we can forget our own transgressions and latch on to someone else’s, ready to crucify them when truly, we did something very similar, or perhaps the same or “worse”, once upon a time.
Oh, the stories I could but won’t share in order to protect the not so innocent!
Anyway, my prayer is that we all remember that all have sinned, not just they or them, all, including me, including you. We can’t control how others behave, but we can control ourselves. Let’s work on loving others into who they truly are in Christ. Let’s find out who we are in Christ, gain freedom and help set others free! Let’s allow our Heavenly Father to tell us who we really are and what we are here to accomplish. He’s the One who created us and has all the answers right? Let’s ask Him! Who’s your Daddy? 😉
One thought on “How Do You Esteem Others?”
I am soaking this up and allowing it to marinate in my spirit…thoughts, quiet thoughts of so many life changing events,,,