From The Source of Miracles
People will disappoint you in life, and they will disappoint you often. Yet each person who hurts you or causes you some sort of disillusionment is actually doing you a favor. They are providing you with opportunities to prove how unconditionally you can love and forgive your brothers and sisters under God. It is easy to love those who love you, but as Jesus reminds us in Luke 6:28, it is very difficult to “bless those who curse you.” Jesus asks a lot of us with this statement, but you can benefit immensely if you can put it into practice.
All people are damaged. When they behave badly, it is often because of pain that has accumulated from their past. Sometimes, when someone we know well hurts us, we are able to see clearly what may have caused their behavior. But when dealing with strangers, business associates, or people we just don’t know that well, we have very little information about their personal history. We don’t know what has happened in those people’s lives to cause them pain. We don’t know about their childhood, and we don’t know what may have happened to them earlier in the day or just before you walked through their door! It is for this reason that I use the following affirmation:
People are doing the best they can with what they have.
This is almost always true. Whether it’s a snarky customer service rep on the telephone, your boss, or your spouse, people are trying to get by day-to-day with the coping skills that they possess. Show compassion, and repeat that affirmation when you begin to feel irritated. How many times have you hung up the phone or walked away from somebody’s office shaking your head and thinking, “Gosh, what go into him today?” Even the nicest people in the world have bad moments. Perhaps you just encountered someone at a bad time. It happens every day. I know that I would not want my character to be judged for a transgression I made when I was under pressure, exhausted, or upset about something.
I once had a complete meltdown in a bank, screaming so loudly at the teller that security was called to escort me out of the building. Now, let me state for the record that I do not normally behave this way. However, this was the same day that the pediatric endocrinologist had told me that my little Shane would not live to see his second birthday. My nerves were shot. The bank teller, who probably still tells the story of the crazy screaming lady, had no idea what kind of emotional devastation I had lived through and had no way of knowing that I was reacting to other, potentially tragic circumstances in my life.
We all have these dark human moments, and we all have to cut each other some slack as a result, because people are doing the best they can with what they have. And you have no idea what that perfect stranger is going through in his or her own life today.
If you really want to make spiritual progress, you can and should pray for the healing and happiness of those who may have “trespassed against you.” When you pray for those who have hurt you the most, those who have really wronged you, your prayer benefits the world and aids in your own spiritual growth. Dramatically. It makes God happy, and it increases your ability to attract goodness and abundance into your life. Carrying a grudge multiplies the energy of darkness and constricts your own opportunities for happiness, as forgiving increases the light and expands your own possibilities for joy.