I've been thinking a lot about the way I treat people recently. Maybe it's all of the bullying talk that's been going on. Maybe it's other things I've recently seen or heard from so-called adults. But it's caused me to really re-examine what comes out of my mouth toward others.
Because here's the thing, I'm loud and I don't always think of this before I speak. There have been many instances in my life where something I said was taken a completely different way because someone thought I was yelling at them when I was just speaking at my normal tone. Sometimes, I'm bossy without really intending to be. I like to be in control of situations where the result will be related directly back to me. I'm also not particularly graceful, which means I may slam and bang around without any real intent behind it. Sometimes, I have been a bully. Of course, I've been bullied too. Haven't most of us? (Particularly if we went to junior high.)
But, as a Christian, who is more than flawed, I am called to make myself more like Jesus Christ, who was flesh among us yet never sinned. I'm sure, based on accounts in the Word, that there were times when Jesus was frustrated, especially with those closest to Him. I'm sure that when the pharisees were up to their trickery, Jesus felt like He just wanted to wiped them off the map. But He didn't. Because His life is our example. There's more than enough "meanness" in the world. I certainly don't need to keep contributing. Now, I don't really think this is a skill I'm going to master right away. My quick wit sometimes outruns my good sense. I just really feel checked that I should work on this, and if the public accountability of a blog doesn't do the trick, I just don't know what will.
What is all comes down to is that I am an example, too. Every day, several dozen students sit under my teaching, but I'm showing them who I really am through my actions. I know that I am not the only influence on their lives, but if nothing else, let me be one positive one. If what they get from the rest of the world is the message that it's okay to hurt others for your own advancement, that being petty is the status quo, that embarrassing others isn't really that big of a deal, then let me be the one who shows kindness, grace, mercy, and love (even if that means tough love).
The addage says to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." And that's a good place to start. It all comes down to how we react when they don't.