Christians are supposed to be kind to others. Everyone! I teach my children what I believe. I want them to believe: It is OK to put your foot down when someone tries to take advantage of you. Still, treat everyone with dignity and respect. This is the art of diplomacy. I don’t expect my children to be masterful, but I do insist they practice it. As a Liberal Christian I consider the Bible to be full of wisdom and inspiration. However, as with every other Biblical matter, modern contextual interpretation is necessary. Are there any cases in which kindness is not the best option? Maybe sometimes. Personally, I always strive to be kind and respectful towards everyone, because that is how I define myself. Defining oneself as revengeful or hostile doesn’t seem very Christian to me. Whereas dedicating myself to choosing kindness has brought me a lot of peace and happiness.
I recall a time when a colleague of mine was rude to me and making things difficult for me. Some people can just be awful, and she was really good at it. I wanted to be awful back to her. I wanted to be rude and to make things difficult for her too. I dreamed of ways to get back at her. It would have been easy since I knew her weaknesses. Fantasizing about revenge is not Biblical, of course. Fortunately, I did not immediately react to her. I calmed down enough to make a decision before retaliating. I recognized that I could not change her behavior. She was likely to be rude and make things difficult for me again. Some people are just like that. My mother always used to quote Dear Abby to me. “You cannot change other people’s behavior. You can only change your reaction to it.” My sister always says “Kill ‘em with kindness.” And my father always cautioned me that I could never know what that other person was going through to make them behave that way. Following family and Biblical wisdom I made the decision to strive for kindness. I would not allow myself to be taken advantage of. However, telling this colleague to help me some and stop giving me such a hard time would be like telling a wall to stop being in my way.
There is a lot in the Bible about holding grudges. This link will take you to a list of passages. https://www.openbible.info/topics/holding_grudges My favorite is Romans 12:14 (NIV). “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
I prayed to God to release my heart from feelings of anger and revenge. And I prayed that God would bless her and protect me from her. Once I remembered the kind of person I want to be and let go of a little off my anger I was able to act with patience, respect and professionalism. I even tried really hard to be friendly with her because she seemed so unhappy all the time. My attitude did not change hers. She continued to make problems for me. But I felt peace because I was in control of my reaction.