Today is the day that I’m getting back into exercise. I sprained my ankle last week and although I’ve been swimming and rode the stationary bike, today was the day that I decided to go for a 1 hour walk.

Near the end of my walk today I got yelled at. No, SCREAMED at would be a better choice of words. I was about to cross over across the street and a car was whipping around a circle to the left of me. I hesitated as he did because I thought he was going to go around the circle and turn back around. I didn’t know that he intended to turn left, right in front of me. Still, I hesitated to see where the car went.

I was staring to the left to see what the car would do with one foot on the street. The car whizzed by and slowed down just enough for me to hear the expletives coming out of his mouth about me using the sidewalk. He said, “Jesus &^% / Christ, why don’t you use the crosswalk, I’ll fun your &*%$# over!”

Now I can pretty much guarantee that this guy wasn’t praying to Jesus Christ at that moment. He was using the Lord’s name in vain. And an interesting thing happened to me… for the first time!!!

I felt sorry for him!!! I actually felt sorry for this young guy who was driving to fast, screaming obscenities out the car window and being basically a jerk to me. I also know because I have some years on me now, that that poor guy will “get his”. He’s either got a lot of stress in his life right now and doesn’t know how to manage it, or he’ll be dealing with a lot in the future. These are the things that I actually thought about!!!

The reason that I’m so shocked at my own reaction is that previously, if anyone would get in my face about anything, it would take me a bit of time, but I’d get it together and then I’d LET THEM HAVE IT. I’d just tell them off or somehow get back at them with every bit of certainty that they had displayed earlier.

Once in Charlotte, I had a neighbor who I complained to at 1am that their music was on too loud. They never responded to my knocking so I rang the doorbell. The next morning, the wife reamed my husband out so bad that when he came in, he was calling her crazy! I went over to try to smooth things out and she screamed and yelled and cussed at me just as much. I cowardly walked away but got my revenge. Not only did I tell everyone what bad neighbors they were, I got the music to stop by going to the board of the neighborhood and forcing them to stop the constant pounding every night.

That ruined the relationship for the first 2 years that we lived there. I never wanted to be friends with someone with such a violent temper.

But what was really going on for her? Was she in a bad place in her life? Was there a time where someone else had pressured her or her family to do something?

I never chose to look at those things. I chose to ignore her and treat her like she didn’t exist. I can tell you from experience, it is not a good way to live! There are many awkward moments that occur, and it’d just be easier to forgive and forget.

She was actually the one who initiated the conversation again. One day she just waved and said “Hi, how are you?” I responded somewhat pleasantly and from then on, we waved whenever we saw one another.

But I can’t tell you that I liked her. No, I still felt like she was an awful woman who didn’t want to be a good neighbor.

When I compare my two reactions, I felt so much more peace just forgiving the guy and going on with things. I didn’t react at all to him but I know that his day is probably ruined. Holding a grudge is HARD. You have to avoid the person so you don’t have to be in an awkward position. You have to look the other way when they approach you to act like you don’t see them and then having to totally ignore a person takes so much creative work and effort!

Forgiveness is a whole lot easier! All you have to do is forgive the person and realize that they’re not at their best at that moment. Hopefully, they’ll regret their actions and make amends but even if you don’t, you’ll feel better just by forgiving them right away. When you don’t forgive someone, your emotions become bitter, and bitterness eats away at your insides. Literally. It can cause stress and even sickness.

I can just imagine that today, the angels that were watching today, recorded something good about me. Perhaps they all nudged each other, smiled and said.. “yah, NOW she’s getting it! Now she understands what it takes to become mature”.

I know in my heart that I felt better this time about the lousy experience. I know that God saw me honestly feel sorry for that young guy. And I know that it made God happy.

Now, if he can JUST work on making that GUY happy…. !