“There is enough good in the worst of us, and enough bad in the best of us, that it behooves all of us not to speak ill of the rest of us”
at least that is how I remembered the quote that Edward Wallis Hoch is recorded as saying. His actually said, “there is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us”
I guess I changed it to memorize his quote the way I saw it. I don’t think I agreed with the concept ‘so much’ good and ‘so much’ bad. There may not be ‘so much’. There may be very little. There may be precious very little. But I think somewhere some good, and some bad can be found.
There was a preacher my husband worked for who is one of only 4-5 people that I place on my ‘evil’ list. Over time the preacher would treat my husband as I treated the preacher. If I kept my distance-as was my desire-he was micro-managing and critical of my husband. If I was ‘nice’ to the preacher, he pretty much let my husband do his job. It was a very unpleasant experience. This reason is not why I thought the man was evil. I thought he was evil because he had affairs, misrepresented himself and his ministry, lied, mocked people with disabilities, took money under false pretenses, and sat up at night thinking how he could ‘get people’; as in hurt their lives. He was injurious to people physically, mentally and spiritually.
At any rate, I had to think how to deal with this man. Eventually he was confronted and had to leave the ministry or be publicly exposed. In the meantime I had to cope. This is the next thing that I didn’t agree with in Edwards quote- ‘to talk about the rest of us’. I had to talk. I talked a lot. Not to the public at large but to my trusted friends. Talking helped me sort out how I felt, how to handle things and how to react to this preacher. (in the southern baptist church you cannot speak critically of the preacher. he is like a mini-god. I tried to talk to the deacons on several occasions and they had mute ears. see religionrecovery.wordpress.com for more stories on this preacher.)
So I considered what might be good about this person. He dressed well. Very sharp dresser. He spoke well. If I wanted someone to represent me, he could be the person. He spoke like a lawyer. hmm….what else?…..hmmm….
that was about all I could come up with. Then I could finish the quote my way…’not to speak ill of the rest of us’. I learned several things from this experience with the preacher:
1. I do not answer for other people. I answer for myself.
2. I cannot control other people, I can only control myself, my actions, and my reactions
3. My perspective was everything-how I framed things affected how I felt about them
4. Inform ‘authorities’ of behavior that you feel needs to be reported-then let them do their job
While I did the above, I was deeply affected by the whole experience. What we experience does change us. I no longer let a person stand in a pulpit and tell me how to live, how to think and what to do.
I think for myself. And one of the things I think is that it is important to find positive things to think about. That is why I try to live by Edward’s altered quote–look for good in people, and try not to speak negatively about them. If they are people that I cannot find good things to say about them, than I walk away from them. I don’t let them into my life. Being around people who cause me to use precious energy to try and manage a relationship with them is not worth it. It is like having a toxic drip that causes a hole in my bucket of energy; the energy just keeps going right out of that hole. I am left wondering why I am so exhausted. Ending the relationship takes the toxic drip away and the hole in the energy bucket can heal, and you can feel so much better.
So I guess, dealing with people is multi-faceted. How we see them, what we allow into our lives, and when to discern when a relationship should be severed.
“You must not under any pretense allow your mind to dwell on any thought that is not positive, constructive, optimistic and Kind.” Emmet Fox
“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours” Wayne Dyer