The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Are You in the Box? Part 2

Jerry and Cathy had a son with a serious drug problem. They did everything within their power to reach out and help. They spent several thousands of dollars on hospitals and rehabilitation services. They also didn’t do many things to help their son. Even though it was extremely painful to them they had to go against what would make them feel better to help their son long term. This was genuine love.

For many years their son desperately tried to blame his father and mother for all his problems so he would be justified and have an excuse to fulfill his drug and alcohol desires. The problem was his parents just kept on loving him and this made him extremely angry. He asked them, “How can you still love me after all the things I’ve done to hurt you?” The parents said, “We just do and we will continue to choose to do so.” He then replied, “Why don’t you just hate me? That’s what I deserve!” His father said, “Too bad. I’m not going to make your life any easier by hating you.”

If we are in a situation such as divorced, problems with spouse or kids, trouble at work with someone and it seems this person or people keep doing things to keep us angry, then they’re doing it on purpose. When we get angry and especially when we retaliate, we play right into their hands. This will continue to give them the justification and excuse to keep on doing what they’re doing. In other words, you are actually helping them to stay right where they are and they will never grow. However, if we keep on genuinely loving them regardless of their behavior, this will force them to confront themselves or they will have to find another scapegoat. You see, your goal is not to change them. This is God’s responsibility. You are only responsible for your actions and response. What happens with them is God’s business. If you really want to get even…Love Them!

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay, "says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

The problem with this is most people don’t want to do this because as much as the other person is using them to justify there sins, they are doing the same with them. If I thought, I can’t treat them well because then if they grew and got better then I’ll have to face my own issues. As long as I keep them worse than me, this is all that really matters. I think I’ll remain in the box.

Everyday we see people stepping on people trying to get the prize without giving any thought to the outcome as long as they look good. They steal, lie, cheat, swindle or kill to accomplish they’re own selfish desires. They refuse to take responsibility for anything they do wrong and take credit for good things they didn’t do. To see someone stand up to the plate these days is very rare.

You may be thinking, “At least I’ve never done anything like this.” We are all guilty of this at some time in our life. In order to lash out at someone, gossip about others, lust after someone or resent someone for being wealthy, attractive, sexy or shapely, talented or intelligent they first have to become an object in our minds. We cannot look at them as people with past hurts, families or problems. We have to negate their humanity.

It would be very difficult for soldiers to go to war having relationships with their enemy. If they knew their enemies and looked at them as people with a wife and kids, father and mother and brothers and sisters instead of just uniforms, it would be extremely difficult to shoot them. This is also why big corporations can layoff thousands of employees without remorse because these people are just objects or numbers.

The moment we step in our box and start blaming anyone for our behaviors, feelings or attitudes we first have to view them as objects and dehumanize them. Now they are only here for our selfish reasons to avoid feeling a certain way we don’t want to feel. Guilty!

Years ago there was a movie many of you may have seen called “Silence of the Lambs.” In the movie there was a serial killer who was murdering women and mutilating their bodies. When they showed him speaking to one of his victims he would never refer to them with their names or even gender. He would refer to them as “It or That.” He could have never imposed the cruelty on his victims if he would have seen them as people. They were objects. You say this is an extreme example to prove a point. The scary thing is each of us do this every time we attempt to blame someone.

There are so many examples I could give you and you are thinking of many yourself. I don’t know if this is your situation or if you know someone in this situation but, sometimes it takes people a long time to file for divorce. The reason is simple. They’re waiting for the other one to do it. Why? Because then they can be the victim and say something like, “My wife/husband filed for divorce for some reason. I tried to keep the marriage together but she/he wouldn’t even try.” This way they don’t have to take responsibility for a failed marriage. You played into their hands.

So how do we overcome this? Apparently this is a major issue in our life. Well, first of all you have to realize this is not something you are going to accomplish overnight. This will take time and lots of practice. Mostly it will take help from God because this is too big for us. We would have to be constantly watching ourselves and others and this would require way too much energy not to mention legalism.

First of all give it to God literally. Pray and ask Him to help you…

• Love instead of Hate
• Take ownership instead of blame
• Walk away instead of fight
• Build others up instead of destroy
• Respond instead of React
• Control yourself instead of trying to control others
• Look at people instead of objects

I definitely can’t point my finger at anyone because I know I have as much problems as anyone in this area, especially when I’m driving down the freeway. We’re all in this together, but I want to make life better for myself and for you if I can.

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