There are people around here that don’t like me.
That may be news to some of you folks, but it isn’t to me. There was one infamous incident where I got hate mail sent to my office , you can read about that here.
I found myself in a predicament recently where I was thinking “What is [person who won’t be named]’s problem? How can they possibly have a problem with me?” You may have been in the same situation at some point; someone shows some sort of malice toward you and your first reaction is to ask “why?” That’s where I was at recently and I gained a lot of perspective by taking a step back and looking at the big picture.
The first thing I noticed, was that for a few brief moments, I allowed a single person to be more important than God. That’s obviously a problem. The second thing, and maybe even a bigger issue, was the fact that I was prideful enough to think there was no legitimate reason for someone not to like me.
There’s a song that I’ve been jamming recently that opened my eyes even further to how important things like context and perspective are when it comes to understanding people and their actions. It’s called Righteous Path by Drive-By Truckers. You would be surprised what kind of things you could learn by actually analyzing song lyrics instead of mindlessly repeating the words like a lot of us do.
Take a look at the first verse and the third verse.
I got a brand new car that drinks a bunch of gas
I got a house in a neighborhood that’s fading fast
I got a dog and a cat that don’t fight too much
I got a few hundred channels to keep me in touch
I got a beautiful wife and three tow-headed kids
I got a couple of big secrets I’d kill to keep hid
I don’t know God but I fear his wrath
I’m trying to keep focused on the righteous path
There’s this friend of mine I’ve known all my life
Who can’t get it right no matter how hard he tries
He’s got kids he don’t see and several ex-wives
And a list of bad decisions bout eight miles wide
Trouble with the law and the IRS
And where he’ll get the money’s anybody’s guess
He’s a long way off but if you was to ask
He’d say he’s trying to stay focused on the righteous path
This is a story of two people that live very different lives on the outside, but both say they are trying to stay on the “righteous path”. Often we can judge people based on their actions, but judge ourselves based on our intentions. There are folks out there that see the things I do and they don’t understand why I do it, but they can’t read my mind so they make their assumption and move on. This is a two-way street, because I’m sitting here wondering why someone would dislike me for something I’ve done, when maybe they have their own reasons or agenda (good or bad) for feeling that way.
Your actions aren’t always perceived as pure as your intentions seem. Sometimes we see the coach screaming at a player on the sideline and we don’t see the man who wants that kid to succeed more than anything. Sometimes we see Nathan doing [insert stupid thing here] and we forget that he’s just a young father who wants to put himself and everyone he comes in contact with in the best position to succeed. Sometimes I fail at that, because I’m human and that’s what we do, but that’s honestly what I want.