I ran out of excuses. I can no longer provide you with an excuse for your behavior. I can no longer soften the blow of your hateful words. I can no longer excuse your silence in times of darkness.
The word “excuses” is defined generally as an attempt to lessen the blame attaching to a fault or offense; seek to defend or justify or release someone from a duty or requirement.
We make excuses for our own behavior that is a given. My hope is that we correct it more than we excuse it. But, I am also really good at making excuses for other people’s behavior. I bet you are too. Most, generally, this is a learned behavior. As children we are made to apologize for the things we do, for our reaction to the things that other’s do to us, and often even for the unilateral hurtful actions of others. What exactly does this teach us?
It teaches us to ignore our feelings. It teaches us to ignore our intuition. It teaches us that our feelings aren’t important. It teaches us we don’t matter as humans. It teaches us that sacrificing ourselves for the sake of some pseudo peaceful state is not only acceptable but must be achieved above all else. It keeps us grounded in harmful relationships. It keeps us seeking out the comfortable mayhem of abuse.
Making excuses for someone else’s bad behavior and forgiving a person’s bad behavior are two entirely different things. In my world, there are three actions that should precede forgiveness. First, acknowledgement of the behavior. Second, a sincere apology. And, third, corrective actions. Without these present the behavior has simply been excused and will most likely continue because there have been no consequences requiring introspective review of the behavior by the offender. If the behavior works, the behavior will continue. It really is that simple. This, however, also makes you a contributor to the bad behavior. The point being, you teach people how to treat you.
People act like jerks because they are allowed to be jerks. PERIOD. No one wants to confront the behavior. It is not fun. It’s messy. And, well…. sometimes it doesn’t lead to a resolution at all but a greater divide. Is that okay? Yes, actually it is.
Listen, everyone can have a bad day, but you don’t have the right to have a bad day everyday. Nor does anyone have the right to inflict their bad upon anyone else.
I am not saying you must confront the bad behavior of all individuals. There are times it would be futile to even try. Certainly, there are times when it is just easier, and frankly, safer, to quietly walk away. Leave the church. Quit the job. End the relationship. Never addressing the root of the problem.
If you find yourself in a cyclical pattern, if a person’s behavior is hurtful to you, if it offends your personal boundaries, then it is time to say goodbye, addios, good riddance. The length of time you’ve known the individual is irrelevant. Time does not equate to a free pass to be crappy to you. You do not have to endure that person, that friendship, that relationship just to prove you are strong, capable, a good Christian, or a forgiver. HOGWASH! Value you. Find your voice. Be strong enough to walk away. Head high and integrity intact. There is a beautiful light waiting to shine upon the darkness that has been holding you captive. Let go.