Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Over the past 20 years, my mom has gradually lost almost all of her ability to hear. Even with hearing aids, she struggles. Things that you and I take for granted, like: phone conversations, socializing at a restaurant, going to church are incredibly difficult for her because of her problem. But, the one thing my mom has had the most trouble with is other people’s insensitivity to her handicap. If someone is in a wheelchair, most people will do whatever they can to accommodate that person. A person who is blind either has a cane or a guide dog and everyone realizes immediately that the person is unable to see. However, there is nothing overtly visible about someone who is hard of hearing. So, people who do not know she has a problem get frustrated with her when she asks them to repeat what they just said. And, people who know about her hearing loss, me included, sometimes forget and get frustrated with her as well.
Her situation reminds me that that we all have challenges, losses and handicaps that are not outwardly visible, yet that profoundly affect we relate with others. Think about that person at church or at work who you have to walk on egg-shells around because he is so hyper-sensitive and defensive. But, what if you knew that he grew up in an abusive home, or was married to a spouse that was overly critical and verbally abusive? Or, consider that ultra-needy and way too clingy friend whose feelings are hurt when you cannot be there for her? If you found out that her parents gave her up when she was a child and she grew up in several different foster homes, you might better understand her fear of abandonment.
I’m not saying that people can’t overcome past hurts. It is true that with faith, maturity and effort healing can happen. My point is this, when you are dealing with someone that you find hard to handle, remember that they may very well have a long history of suffering that you can’t see, but that drives their attitudes and behaviors. Ask God to help you be gracious and tolerant towards the people in your life who are hard to love. After all, who better to learn grace from than the One who knows every detail of your heart, both the good and the bad, and was still willing to die in order to secure your eternity with Him?
I have been working at WBFJ since September 2004 when God threw me out of the boat I was riding in and set me on a new and wonderful course. I love co-hosting the morning show, although the lack of sleep does make me a bit loopy at times.
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