Last week I wrote a post titled They Don’t Know What They Don’t Know and made the case that often folks say insensitive things but truly don’t mean harm. Many are walking in the dark and step on our toes because they can’t see.
But there are some people who make it a habit to be insensitive.
They are the ones who delight in speaking their mind regardless of how it hurts another heart. They pride themselves on “telling it like it is” and justify the fallout as a necessary consequence of “opening the eyes” of people they consider “blind to the truth”.
And while I believe that it is my duty as a Christ follower to forgive these folks when they hurt my feelings, I do not believe that I am required to continue to offer my heart to them to be tossed to the ground and trampled.
I do not have to welcome them with open arms and invite their untimely and unkind comments.
I do not have to engage with them on social media-I can unfollow, unfriend or simply ignore their posts. I can delete inappropriate comments made on my own posts and untag myself when they try to draw my attention to an article or meme that they think “helps” when it only wounds me.
If the person is a family member, I can choose to be polite when we meet at gatherings but I do not have to sit next to them at the table. I can excuse myself early from birthday parties, Sunday dinners or holiday meals. I can simply refuse an invitation and stay home instead.
If the person is someone tightly woven into the fabric of my friendships, I can do the same thing-choosing not to be alone with them so I’m not an easy target for their “helpful” monologues.
If the person is a casual acquaintance then I can choose not to engage them at all. It’s OK to scoot around the next aisle in the grocery store so that I’m not caught like a deer in headlights when they see me and exclaim, “How ARE you???”
In other words, it is perfectly acceptable to have boundaries around my heart so I can survive this journey.
It is healthy.
It is necessary.
I’m not required to be someone else’s punching bag.