We need to filter using more than our own filters. Of course, if we could expect everyone’s responses, we’d probably never say anything. But some what-not-to-says are obvious. We need to know our audience.
“I needed to get rid of him and get a better (husband).”
I knew the person’s background, and I understand why she said it. Some marriages are bad, unhealthy. But as someone who was kicked to the curb because my ex felt he “deserved to be happy,” it’s hard to handle the harsh, disrespectful rejection. It’s one thing to work together and try to listen and address issues, then decide working it out can’t be done. It’s one thing to try to address issues without the other person’s cooperation until you’ve tried every possible attempt. But it’s another thing to discard someone because he or she is no longer enough. During the conversation when I confronted my ex about his girlfriend, he attempted to make me feel better by explaining, “Don’t feel too bad. She’s just average like you.”
It didn’t help. (But I’ve laughed about the oh-so-many-things-wrong-with-that-statement many times since.)
Let me be clear: I am not even close to perfect. Just like everyone else, I have flaws. I try to be authentic about them, and I try to grow through them to become a better person – and by better, I mean, becoming more like God created me to become. But it’s an ongoing process.
There was a lot of give and take in my marriage through the years. I know it might seem like an odd thing to say now that we are divorced, but we truly had a good, healthy marriage for the most part. But it only takes one person to decide he or she is done, to reject the other.
Mine is just one example of how words that might have felt true and right for one person could cut another. There are so many more instances. Whatever it is – chronic health issues, infertility, grief, financial issues – try not to project your own experiences and values, especially when making harsh claims. Your harsh words can hurt others. Listen well, understand where the other person has been and is, to the best of your ability, then build and encourage with your words.
And for the person who needs to hear it today: You are enough. Not because you’re good or pretty or successful, but because God says you are enough. Yes, he wants more for you, but that comes with time as you trust and yield to him. It’s a process. Trust him with it. Trust him with yourself.