Others “May”…You May Not

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Don’t ask me the situations…..

I won’t even remember the specifics.

What I will recall from these times after being hurt by others during my teen to younger adult years, though, is my dad pulling a book from his library shelf and opening to a chapter with the following quote:

“Others ‘May’… You May Not.”

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No…It wasn’t always an easy pill to swallow or the lesson you wanted to hear at the time…

Especially not when you’re “needing support”…(or so you think).

No, in these moments, you want validation for wanting to respond in a reactionary way to others.

No…It’s in these times you want someone in your “corner”.

Someone to say, “You’re right and they’re wrong. It’s okay. Go ahead and give that sarcastic and witty comeback response that will knock them off their feet.” (Not that I’ve ever been good at comeback responses anyway… It’s usually more like a delayed comeback response…… And in my head, no less, long after the fact..)

But no. Instead of support and validation for reactions I may have felt were justified, what did I hear instead?

“Others ‘May’… You May Not…”

A beautiful quote right?

Ummmm….? Let me think about that one for a bit….

To me…? In that moment…?

No.

But to God?  Um…. Yes.

To God… It was beautiful… (1 Peter 3:4)

And afterall, that’s really all that matters anyway, right?

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Now in mid-life, looking back at this important lesson my dad reminded me of during my younger years, I stand very appreciative…

…Because rather than adding fuel to my fire, he instead steered me in a direction that I would need to grow and mature… not only as an adult interacting with others but more importantly as a Christian.

And I would learn more from this lesson than if my momentary feelings had gained his support. In fact, as I said earlier…I can’t even remember the specifics of the situations in which I had been hurt, but I still remember to this day the “take-away”.

In this life, people will hurt, offend, and reject. They will be rude, sarcastic, and unkind….

And you know what?

“Others ‘May’… You May Not…”

Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect at applying this lesson in my own life.

I still struggle at times… Especially when others don’t respond in ways I hoped they would.

And yet, what is it that God asks of me during these times?

To do what is right… No. Matter. What.

Yes.

“Others ‘May’… You May Not…”

Bible-blog-post-others-may

Here’s what the Bible has to say specifically regarding this point…

“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” Matthew 5:39 NIV

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9 NIV

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.” Psalm 37:7-8 NIV

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.” Romans 12:17 NIV

Oh…It’s so easy to want to shelve it out as easily as others have given to us at times, and yet as Christians we are called to be different.

We are called to follow a different path.

A path that dies to “self” and lives for God, truly representing the Savior we boldy claim to follow, not only through our words but also by our actions…

And even more importantly from our hearts.

If the thought of living like this is still hard to swallow, consider the following example from the life of Jesus…

“When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” Luke 23:33-34 NIV

carry-your-cross-follow-Jesus

Can you imagine how Jesus was feeling as He watched the people around Him?

He came to be their Rescue. Their Help. Their Hope. Their Peace.  Their bridge back to a right relationship with God.

The angels announced “good tidings of great joy for all people” at His birth. (Luke 2:10) His life, death, and resurrection would change and restore any person who came to God through Him. And not only would those who turned to Him find their lives changed and healed, but He also promised an eternity with God through faith in Him.

The words He taught, the miracles He did…. All He ever did was good. There was no reason for any of this.

And yet, here He is on the cross watching the faces of those who are glad to see him hanging there, hearing the mockery of those watching, and observing as people cast lots to see who will get to keep his clothes.

But what message do Jesus’ actions speak from the cross?

Do good, love, and forgive no matter what others do or have done.

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Romans 12:14 NIV

“Others ‘May’… You May Not…”

Yes, it’s a hard pill to swallow when you’re the one on the receiving end of pain, hurt, and rudeness…

And yet, Jesus left us a perfect example to follow.

An easy one?

…No. Not on our own.

But thankfully…We’re not on our own.

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Jesus has given those of us who have place our trust in Him His Holy Spirit to indwell us. And the more we yield ourselves to Him and His leading, the more we will be able to respond in ways that Jesus would in times of conflict.

“Others ‘May’… You May Not…”

Why not?

Because we follow a different way… A path that was marked out by our Savior, showing us by His own life how we are to respond even when others treat us wrong.

others may

Faye is a former Florida educator, who is now a stay at home mom, online ESL Teacher, and co-author of PurposefulMoms.com. Her passions in life include writing, designing digital clip art, developing educational resources, public speaking, exercising, and above all sharing the love of Jesus with others in her daily life.

8 thoughts on “Others “May”…You May Not

    • Faye Adams says:

      Thanks for saying that, Mom. Jesus continues to work in me and change my heart. I want to look like Him more and more everyday so that people truly know He is real in my life. I truly want others to know it’s not about “religion”…all talk and no application. Jesus is real. He is a life changer, healer, and restorer. He’s everything to me, and He continues to make me who I need to be. I love you.

  1. Carole Voorhees says:

    Were you at Lighthouse last eve?! This is wonderful and the way of Christ, die to self. Love your dad!! God bless him! And yes, you are so beautiful, inside and out!

  2. Betsy says:

    I sit here reading this and can’t help but to say that I struggle with this everyday..I try to remain silent but they get the best of me always..Maybe its where I was raised in such a cruel environment..i know I’m only responsible for my actions, and I’m not justifying what I say or do to be right, but it is hard to deal with. How can you start at this age of mine to learn how to say to myself “Others May..You May Not”?

    • Faye Adams says:

      It’s beautiful that you have a heart that wants to say “Other ‘may’… I may not.” That’s really a great step! Honestly, it’s only possible with the Lord’s help. I think the more we fall in love with Jesus, seeing all that He’s done for us, and realize that others need Him just as much as we do, the more we’ll want them to see His love through our lives, rather than responding in ways that we would “normally” want to react. Jesus simpified the principle behind the ten commandements by saying the first greatest commandment was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart… soul… and mind…” (Matthew 22:37) and the second greatest commandment was like it “Love your neighbor as yourself.” When we desire to show others love and realize we were made to be conduits of God’s love to others, we’ll want Him to use our lives in those ways and ask Him to help us react in ways that will help Him express that love. No matter what others do to us…it doesn’t change how God sees us and it doesn’t change our value or worth. When we realize that, I think how people treat us also matters less and we can see them as hurting people who are simply needing Jesus themselves also.

  3. Carole Voorhees says:

    Hi Betsy! You are not alone ….. I am not sure of your age as you mentioned above, how to begin at age? I will soon be 61. Perhaps, hopefully it will help that the very moment you are not being treated in a Christ like manner, to pray and even be silent, surrendering “your right” to respond. Faye said it all above. Our desire is to “be love” to those hurting. Most likely any unkind act comes from a source of pain. Hang in there. I also love hearing that you “want to.” God sees and honors that. Not all behavior is from a source of pain, it was never meant to be hurtful, but somehow in the communication , things became distorted and the enemy so loves that. Our response becomes even more important, erring on the side of kindness, because God says, “Love never fails.” I lean on that constantly to bring about good fruit. I pray I have not overstepped in responding. This is a personal area I am working and surrendering to in my own life daily. 🙂

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