“If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave.” Matthew 10:14 NLT
“Cruelty is cheap and easy.” Brene Brown
Not everyone deserves you. Not everyone will like you. Many will gossip about you. Some will try to use you. Some will use you as an emotional garbage can. Some, like crabs in a bucket, will climb right over you. “Hurting people hurt people,” the saying goes. That doesn’t mean you are someone’s punching bag.
My father and step-mother were very successful in their careers and church. Money and status were theirs. They taught me a powerful, humiliating and painful lesson.
My husband and I were invited to dinner at their house. My dad grilled steaks, wine was served and the table was lovely. Then my step-mother proceeded to gossip and denigrate my sisters, their spouses and children. “How can he be a manager of a car dealership? How awful! “How can it be acceptable to have tattoos?” “How can she be so overweight?” “Their house is so small; are they financially strapped?” My father heartily agreed and participated in this cruel, gossipy and destructive conversation. Expensive steak and wine turned to sawdust in my mouth. Tears crept out of my eyes. A huge painful lump was in my heart and throat. If they talk about my siblings this way, just think what they’re saying about me, my spouse and my children. The very people that are supposed to love you.
My husband and I looked at each other. We got up, went to the car, said not a word and drove away. We sadly shook the dust off our feet. We embraced each other. Promised to never, ever do this to anyone! Two senior adults that were members of a local church, golf club, Meals on Wheels, chose to rip the heart and soul out of their own family members. Is this rare? Sadly, no. Many of you have experienced this to a greater or lesser degree. Cheap and easy. And not true.
By the way, and I was there when he was dying, my dad’s last words were, “I’m so sorry.” Tormented with pain and regret.
Shaking the dust off our feet means no drama, no arguing, no threatening, no explaining. Doesn’t do any good anyway. But more importantly, do not make another’s cruelty yours. Do not let it live in our heart and soul. It’s not ours. It’s theirs. Pray over it and Let Go and Let God while moving on to others that are receptive with love.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.