Saturday, July 1, 2017

Of the offense and the rebuke

We have this Bible verse in play lately:
15But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.

It seems  that I have this penchant for pissing off people in some way or another in the past many months. I've either said or done something that has offended someone somewhere. It was not intentional, but it stinks knowing you've upset someone - especially a friend. I am generally not a people pleaser, so it's not related to that aspect of things. Nor am I just guns blazing give no craps who gets upset with me either. 
But I've long been aware that I am at risk for hurting someone's feelings or offending their sensibilities. I do try to keep it in check, but sometimes, it happens anyway. And most of the time, my friends know they can just tell me that I've done as much and we can work through the situation. However, there are times someone who doesn't know me that well (or maybe at all) finds something I've said or done offending to them, and they won't say anything. I can't say if it's a fear of causing an uproar, an attempt to remain civil/polite, or they don't have the fortitude and courage to just confront me about the situation. 
The problem becomes then that they're harboring a resentment toward me, and I'm clueless to it. I can't own my mistake and attempt to rectify it if that person doesn't own their upset with me and tell me it happened. I have a relative who hated me for years based on the word of their mother, who was unhappy with me. Neither addressed their grievance directly with me, and still have not. Those 2 people absolutely do own their problem with me until they make it my problem. I can't fix it without their involvement. I don't know if they are still upset with me or not, and it's been about 23 years since it all started. When they decide to talk to me about it, we can do something. But until they do, it is still their ball bouncing in their court. 
Most recently, I posted something on Facebook, and told of someone else's situation, and a reflection of things. It was an emotionally charged thing in my realm. However this other person took it as making their situation about me. Instead of directly confronting me, there was a vaguebook post made about it, and the ire demonstrated there. I privately apologized, explaining that I would not ever seek to usurp their situation as my own. This person said they'd been bothered by my relating their story on previous occasions and asked that I not do that anymore. 
Oh good gravy, if this person had just told me the FIRST time they were uncomfortable with me telling of their story, I would have never done it again. Instead, this person harbored resentment and lashed out about it. Well, what was already a charged thing for me became more so because the hurt I thought I'd caused originally was no where near what the cause of hurt actually was. Now we've got other things at play. In addition to remorse for offending someone, there's now annoyance because they opted not to address it immediately and privately, ignored me completely when I attempted to make contact along the way which left me believing that they had something else going on, and then it blew up loudly. What would have only been briefly awkward, may be such permanently now.  
So, if you have a grievance, there really is merit to addressing it in a timely manner, and directly to the person who has committed it upon you. If you need moral support, then utilize it as needed. But don't let it fester and brew for so long that it becomes this severing explosion. And if anyone truly knows me, then they surely know they can come to me to express a problem exists. I'm not such a hardass that I can't see where I have made a mistake, and I'm not so callous that I can't or won't attempt to make amends. And even if we aren't good friends, that still stands. My skin is not so thin that someone saying I've done something to upset them is going to cause me to behave badly. Yes, I might be upset at first and my kneejerk reaction may not be initially what either of us expect. But I am willing and capable of working through my reactions, sorting through where the offended is coming from with their problem with me, and attempting to make amends or politely parting ways as the situation merits. 
Just don't sit there and be offended and tell everyone else about it, BUT the person who needs to hear it first and foremost.

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