However, the older I get, and the more experiences I have tucked into my past, the more I realize that this approach may be relative at best.
For example, while I may see you for all of your good parts and very few of your bad, there may be someone else who would argue that I am blind. Perhaps they have seen you at your worst more often than not and their perception of who you are is clouded by those experiences.
And so I've been thinking...
Unless you live with me, were raised alongside me, or live with someone that I raised, it is possible that you do not know me. You may think you know me because you read my posts and see my facebook statuses. You may think you know me because we attend the same church or even worked together for a while. You may think you know me because I've brought soup to your house when you had a cold; watched your kids while you brought a new person into the world; helped put together your baby shower; or spoke at your church group.
And while I wish that those types of things were the only things I was known for, sadly they are not.
There are people in the world, some of them right here in my very hometown, who probably hope they never have to see me again. Like you, they have gotten to know me in one way or another, and have decided that they didn't like what they found.
In some of these situations I believe that these people are incorrectly judging me. I feel that they have based their opinion of me on faulty information and a tainted perspective.
I have been wronged and it makes me sad. But I'm choosing forgiveness.
In other situations I believe that their choice to dislike me is understandable. Given the circumstances, I'm not sure I would like me either.
Perhaps they have been wronged by me, and that makes me sad as well.
I'm trying to say something important here, but I'm not sure I'm doing a very good job of it so here goes...
This year has been... interesting. I have made new friends, learned new things about myself and others, and grown as a person.
I have gained much in the way of life and goodness this year and I am looking forward to next year.
But I have also lost.
This year I lost friends, but not to death.
This year I lost the respect of some and the faith of others.
This year I didn't always do a good job being the best friend of Christ and lover of people.
I'm looking back and I'm realizing that I failed in some areas, and made hard decisions in others. Unfortunately, both caused some pain for me and all involved.
I'm not saying I would change anything.
I'm just saying that before you judge someone, remember that they are a person. And God loves them.
Just like He loves you.
And just maybe there are people who don't hate them; and maybe those people have as many good reasons for liking them as you do for not.
And maybe as life gets longer, and we get older, burned bridges is just a part of all of it. Sad and nostalgic as they may be.
That is all. Sort of.
You may think I'm speaking to you today. Perhaps I am. Or perhaps I've burned more bridges this year than you realize.
I'm thankful that God redeems, blesses, and forgives and I'm hoping that in Heaven our bridges our mended.
He is good.
And I will try to be better.
Till tomorrow or next week or another time when I'm feeling a little perkier!