“I hate you”!
I hear my 9 year old (at the time) daughter scream, followed by the familiar sound of a slamming door. I sunk to the floor in the living room and could feel my heart break into a thousand pieces. I thought I had at least until she was 16 to hear those dreaded words! I felt angry, hurt, disappointed, and sad. My 9 year old managed to inflict all that on me with a three word sentenced. She had offended me.
I picked my momma broken heart off the floor, pulled myself together the best I could, and entered the lions den (i:e, my daughter’s bedroom..)
Before I finish that story, let me give you some context before you have time to assume. See, what you don’t know is at the time of that dreaded “I hate you”, we had just made our second big move in 3 years, she was starting a new school in a new state, and her dad and I were living separately. Perfect ingredients for a little kid to feel some big emotions.
I scooped her up, held her close, looked her in the eyes and said, “You don’t hate me. You’re just hurting”. She nodded yes in agreement.
Now, make no mistake after the tears subsided and we were both calm we had the conversation about how we don’t say things like that to ANYONE no matter how mad or sad we are.
What was happening in my young daughters heart came flying out of her mouth. Her hurt and her pain all came flying out at her intended target, me, hitting its mark perfectly.
“…what you say flows from what is in your heart”
Luke 6:45 NLT
So often it’s the ones closest to us that can hurt us the most. They know what buttons to push, what triggers to pull, and what wounds to bother. So how do we navigate our household, our family life, or any relationship without constantly being offended? Two really practical things:
#1) Realize you are not invincible. Give yourself grace. You will experience pain. You will be hurt. You will be disappointed. You will get angry. Allow yourself to feel those emotions but don’t unpack your entire life and live there.
“Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships” Proverbs 17:9
(replace friendship with marriage or relationship if you need to!)
#2) Get to really know the people you do life with. That includes your spouse, your significant other, your friends, your co workers, your kids. Once you know someone’s story, once you know what makes them respond and react the way they do you’re less likely to live offended. Does this take work? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Once you know what is in a person’s heart you’re able to look past the hurtful words and still offer them grace.
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses”
If I didn’t know what was in my daughters heart when she threw those words at me I wouldn’t have been able to overlook them and love her the way she needed me to in that moment. Really seeing past peoples hurt and seeing them for who they truly are is a lot like how God sees us. He sees past our greatest flaws and weaknesses. He sees past our greatest sins. He sees past our most serious offenses. And if the goal is to be more Christ like everyday, I think the best choice we can make is to start seeing people (yes, even those in your own family that are the hardest to love sometimes..) as Jesus sees them.
Because not everyone wants to be seen by everyone but, everyone needs at least someone to see them.