"Anyone can find the dirt in someone. Be the one that finds the gold."
Pulling things apart comes easier than believing in them. People, circumstances, and situations are easier to criticize than to understand. Understanding requires listening, putting yourself in someone’s position, or actual experience. Criticizing simply requires interpreting something superficial.
I’m at a lot of tables where things get pulled apart. I’m not above it. I get caught up in it, just like everyone else, but I’ve learned to understand why engaging in this is not as harmless as I once thought it was. Upon reading this passage, I ran to look for Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love to find a quote that rang true:
“Ideas never abandon their source, which is why we are always a part of God, and why our ideas are always a part of us.”
If you choose to uplift another person, you will end up feeling uplifted. If you choose to push things down, you will end up feeling pushed down yourself. It’s easy to disapprove anything if you set your mind to it. The dirt is easy to spot, any subject is easy to point out and talk about. But the thing is that it always comes back to you. If these nasty words spring out of you, they spill back in.
The good stuff is inside and takes more time to sort through. It’s harder to find. People, situations, and circumstances are usually always more than meets the eye. People, situations, and circumstances are usually never as hopeless as we make them to be. You’re either looking for dirt or you’re looking for gold, and as everyone knows you find what you search for.
The moment I hear her voice in the background, my insides cringe. In that split second, though, I hold my irritation back and restrain the cringe from rising up to my face—nobody wants to get caught rolling their eyes live on FaceTime, right?
Has this ever happened to you? When you’re expecting to spend time with people you love and then—bam!—you’re caught off guard by someone you don’t want to see.
We all have people that we struggle to deal with—thorns in our side, so to speak. They challenge us, they annoy us, and at times they even damage us. They bend our boundaries until they’re ready to break. What’s worse is they pop up all over our lives: an uncle with a substance abuse problem, a colleague who blocks you from doing your best work, or a friend who speaks ill of you behind your back.
Sometimes, it’s hard to remember why they exist—but that reason is crucial.
They exist because God chose to create them.
You’ve been taught that you are one of God’s children. He made you in His image, and He’s with you always, to lift you up and console you. But the same goes for the people that haunt us.
The Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus puts it this way:
“An uninstructed person will lay the fault of his own bad condition upon others. Someone just starting instruction will lay the fault on himself. Some who is perfectly instructed will place blame neither on others nor on himself.”
There is no fault at all. Just like God chose to make you, he also made that person you’re angry with, the one you don’t understand, the person you wish would disappear from your life. God even chose to make that pedestrian who decided to take a leisurely stroll in front of your car when you were in a rush yesterday.
God made all of us. God is in all of us. Your job is to see the God in every person you come across, and give them love—whether it’s from up close or from far away.