We all make enemies in life. Better put, there are some who will see us as detractors, betrayers or charlatans despite how we’ve acted; though at times because of the way we’ve acted or not acted. We cannot please everybody all the time.
An important fact to acknowledge is many people cannot help but become offended and they’ll naturally hold on to their resentments. Most people, likewise, are sorely tempted to hold grudges; it’s a significant process for anyone to genuinely express forgiveness.
Should this issue affect us? Whether it should or not, it most often does.
It depends whether the relationship is important to us—usually regarding the future—and, whether we can actually do anything to improve rapport.
Sometimes we can’t do anything to shift their thinking. Or, if they have little foreseeable bearing on our future, why would we logically worry?
The third issue, one that’s key for us all, is how do we accept these situations, and as much as possible even make friends out of those would-be enemies?
Considerations for the Future
As the seasons of life change people come into our lives and some leave. Those leaving or having less to do with us shouldn’t demand a lot of our attention other than us giving them cordial well-wishes.
Most people, however, are in our lives for an infinite period so far as we or they can see. It’s these people we must work with—and they with us, if that’s their desire.
The future is a key consideration whether we bother with others’ resentments or not.
Potential to Improve Rapport
Some people will want to forgive and others won’t. Those who abhor conflict may still battle to forgive us, but our desire to improve rapport will join with theirs to achieve a meeting of the minds.
There are some others who seem quite at home in conflict. They talk about it often and a lot of their lives are characterised by being in conflict with someone or at odds over some issue. With these, it’s a challenging prospect, and we may need to decide whether copious portions of humble pie on our behalf are worth it—sometimes they are.
Catch-all ideas round out any of these sorts of discussions.
Acceptance is that catch-all in view here. Where we have no choice but to grin and bear the situations of resentment that affect us, all that can be done is accept that conflict is part of our world. The presence of conflict may merely highlight how good it is when conflict is missing.
One great beauty of faith is the proverbial truth:
“When the ways of people please the Lord, he causes even their enemies to be at peace with them.” ~Proverbs 16:7 (NRSV).
This truth ought to encourage us; obey God beyond our instinctive desires and all will go well enough in our relationships.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.