Sunday, March 30, 2008

ML8: interpretation

Interpretation is everything, and this is something I've been talking about all along.

Say you get cut off in traffic. If you interpret that as an act of deliberate meanness, you might get upset. But if you interpret it as being that you were in their blind spot and they didn't realize they cut you off, it's easier to forgive them. (I think I did this to someone once... because they then pulled in front of me and slammed on the brakes at close range for no apparent reason. Then they sped off. It was scary. And I had no idea I'd done anything offensive.)

Or say you get all the hard jobs at work while your peers get only a few moderate tasks for the day. You could whine that the designator is picking on you. Or you could trust that it was an oversight and have the humility to say, "I won't be able to get all these done. Can you give some of these jobs to someone else?"

A friend doesn't contact you for two weeks. You could interpret that as being that she's mad at you or is avoiding you for some unspoken reason, or you could figure that something has come up and didn't have time to call.

Interpretation will have a great affect on (if not determine) your reaction. Granted, there are sometimes wicked motives afoot, but as Christians, that still doesn't give us the right to get defensive and angry and demand retribution. But I think maybe this is what 1 Corinthians means when it says "Love believes all things" - that it is willing to see the best in people in unpleasant situations... and it ends up making our lives less stressful too because we're not steaming over our wounds that may or may not have even had any malicious intent behind them.

This relates to work in that I hear a lot of offense taken at co-workers or the way the business is run or the scheduling for the day... and I can think of umpteen reasons for those things to have ended up the way they were without any ill-intent in the making and no reason for anyone to get riled up over it. So I see the tension and the anger and the hard feelings in those around me... and I can get caught up in those too by absorbing their complaints... or I can choose to believe the best and come out on top, emotionally.


Rina said...

What does ML mean?

learning beautiful said...


Anonymous said...

I have one of the world's most wonderful daughters. Her talent for writing, her sensitivity towards others, her insights into humanity, and her transparency are unsurpassed. I love you bunches, Mom

p.s. - Dis ain't no April's Fool!