There is a saying which reads:
the first to apologize is the Bravest
the first to forgive is the Strongest
and the first to forget is the happiest
Humans have a propensity to constantly seek to justify themselves. Let’s think now in the context of arguments or ‘unfair’ [according to their estimate] reactions towards them or any other kinds of disagreement. We generally tend to try and present our case to others in our favor, a ‘one-sided’ story kinda, where of course WE WERE NEVER WRONG. I guess this has to do extensively with our innate selfish desires, and this could possibly be the reason or part of, why Jesus implored us to first deny ourselves if we desire to follow him.
Admitting when we are wrong, confessing a fault, taking the blame for a fault of ours, forgiving those who wronged us, learning to ‘drop it’, restraining our ‘ego’ are all a part of being the bigger person and I can say from experience that it is never easy to be the bigger person even as Christians.
‘Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift’St. Matthew 5:23-24.
I recall to mind a situation where the ‘lamp unto my feet’ effect of the Word was actualized through this scripture. A cousin of mine decided that it was better to malice me for ‘no apparent reason’ [see that propensity I spoke of coming out]. Of course, malice makes me feel uncomfortable not because I am a Christian but because it puts me in an awkward position and I hate feeling awkward. So I still tried to keep up the relationship but the sarcasm and snobbish behavior I was met with was more than I could bear. I managed to somehow turn a blind eye. The following annual Conference [UPCJ], I remember just before the worship segment of the night service started I suddenly felt guilty before the Lord and was stopped in the middle of my worship. Here came the Holy Ghost with the word as audible as one could imagine ‘if thou bring thy gift to the altar and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against you……’ So to this I replied ‘but God, I didn’t do anything wrong, you are God judge between him and me’.
The word was repeated, to which I again replied ‘but why should I be the one to apologize when I am the one who was wronged? I did nothing wrong’. I thought the admonition was through but then He said ‘the word did not say if YOU have ought against your brother but if HE has ought against you’. I was dumbfounded. It occurred to me that I had never paid much attention to the scripture.
Here was Jesus saying that it is not a case where you have an issue with your brother, which would put him/her in the right and you in the wrong, but if they have an issue with you. You must now GO, and not ‘fiesty wid dem’ (be rude) but ‘be reconciled unto them’ in other words seek THEIR forgiveness. I was much disappointed at this. How could God not give me the right which I clearly deserved [I didn’t ask this out loud this time but my heart thought of it] and His answer was that I needed to be the ‘bigger person’. So out of the fear of the Lord, I went and did just that. I had to swallow my pride and go ‘beg fren’ [in Jamaican terms]. And what was even more disturbing was the pride-filled remark that greeted me: ‘I was wondering how long it would take you’ (screams), but this was the first of my learning to be the bigger person. I’ll distract you for a lil bit with this saying
‘no one has ever suffered from indigestion by swallowing their pride’.
Let’s continue shall we? A similar situation happened with another relative and this time I was thoroughly wronged, and there was no need to present my case in favour of me before anyone because it was clear to all who was wrong [lol]. So you can imagine how disgruntled I was when the Lord stopped me in the middle of a prayer and told me to go apologize. May I be a little frank with you? I was growing tired of this scripture and the Lord must have known this so this scripture was now accompanied by the one from St Matthew 5:39-40
‘but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
But again thank God, my heart complied to the instruction from the word and again I swallowed my pride and went and made peace. This continued, not only with family members but with church members also and close friends, very close friends, and each time it would happen the word discerned my thoughts and became a lamp unto my feet. It takes gut to be the ‘bigger person’, it takes humility, it takes love, it takes Romans 12:16, it takes the full control of the Holy Ghost.
So what if they never receive a just reward for their actions [if in fact you are in the right]? It is not up to us to decide that. The bible says ‘Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves but rather give place to wrath. For vengeance is mine I will repay saith the Lord’. And the sad truth is, some folks may NEVER realize their wrong, but hey, who made us the judge of the saints? Have we not read how James spoke in the book of James 4:12?
here is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
I started out by saying it is never easy being the bigger person, but the truth is being the bigger person really means being the lesser person. Learning how to forgive without recognition or applaud, learning how to ‘let go’ solely for the purpose of letting peace prevail and the Word and Name of Christ be exalted. Learning how to ‘drop it’; to just move on from the fact of knowing that you were right BUT, it’s not worth the dispute.
Paul implored us to ‘be of the same mind one to another. Mind not high things but to condescend to men of low estate; be not wise in our own conceits’. All of which begs for the child of God to be perfected in humility, for this was one of the noble character traits of Christ, and therein is the reward of being able to dwell in the high and holy place with the eternal God as expressed by Isaiah in Isaiah 57:15. So my friends, I hope there was something in this my rambling after all; I encourage us to be the BIGGER person. Let Jesus Christ be seen in you, in US.