I found out about my blunder in a less than tactful way, from someone whom I considered a friend, and I felt gutted.
What I am sick about is that I have fueled the insecurity of others and caused them to question themselves unnecessarily.
For the last three days I have had a lot of time to think about my actions and words, and what they have said about me. I thought I had moved past so much gobbledeegook. I thought I had given up gossip for good. I thought I was mature. I thought that I had lived my life in such a way that others would wonder why I am so happy and feel compelled to ask me about it, giving me a chance to share what I believe. I thought I was showing that I am trying to live a Christlike life.
I was showing that I am judgmental, mean, bitter--and catty to boot.
Granted, those who know me well were not offended by my comment, and they have provided the most wonderful support and kind words of encouragement. I have amazing friends and family who can see past my imperfections and forgive me my shortcomings. Thank heavens.
I have learned a few things.
Everyone makes mistakes, and I have learned that they come in different forms. Sometimes they are deliberate. Sometimes not. Sometimes they are big, and sometimes they are small. Sometimes they are mistakes of omission and forgetfulness. Sometimes they are honest. Sometimes they are selfish. Sometimes they are harmless and funny, and sometimes they are terribly hurtful. I know I have fallen prey to making each and every kind of mistake on this list.
I've learned not to judge someone's character by one little action. People do mean things when they are hurt.
My job then is to be kind and give others the benefit of the doubt. I must not take offense so quickly. I must be more forgiving of others when they make mistakes, no matter what kind, and even if they are hurtful to me. I must give others an unimpeded path toward repentance and change, just in case they are ever inclined to do so. It doesn't mean I don't protect myself or my family, or take measures to prevent harmful influences from entering my life, and it doesn't mean that I shouldn't set boundaries and standards for proper behavior. What it means is that my heart should be wiped clean of guile and malice toward others and be filled instead with love.
There is a great story in the Book of Mormon about a military captain named Moroni, who wrote a letter to his political leader named Pahoran. They were in the middle of a great and destructive war, and Moroni was very upset that he had not received the support he needed from Pahoran. He wrote a justifiably angry letter, demanding to know why the soldiers and food had not been sent. He let Pahoran know that if the needs weren't met, he would take matters into his own hands. Here's where Pahoran becomes my hero...He explains to Moroni that he had to flee his own land for his safety, because there was an uprising within his own people. And then he says this, "And now, in your epistle you have acensured me, but it mattereth not; I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart. I, Pahoran, do not bseek for power, save only to retain my judgment-seat that I may preserve the rights and the liberty of my people. My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us cfree." In other words, he doesn't allow the misunderstanding to go any further, and he shows a greater measure of love. It's mercy at its finest. He also solves the problem directly. This story has helped me maintain perspective many, many times. (If you want to read the whole story, go here.)
It is ever so important to go directly to the person who has made the mistake so it can be resolved in the most respectful way possible. Often, we have no idea we've blundered or hurt others' feelings, so it does no good to gossip or assume that the person will someday get it.
Lastly, I am grateful for do-overs. God has provided a way for us to do-over any mistake we've made. That's right, I said ANY mistake. He has also provided a way for us to be healed from the mistakes of others. That way is the Savior, Jesus Christ. We can lay our sins, mistakes, blunders, faux pas and shortcomings at His feet, and He will remove them and strengthen us enough to overcome them. We can also lay our pains caused from others' sins, mistakes, blunders, faux pas and shortcomings at His feet, and He will remove them from our hearts and fill in the holes to heal us. We just need to ask, and listen (and do) when He answers.
I promise to keep my feet on the floor, instead of in my mouth, but if I should happen to fall on my face again, will you please forgive me? Thanks in advance.
I'll end with another gem from my favorite quote lady, Marjorie Pay Hinckley:
"Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."