Published on: October 24, 2012
Making excuses and excusing are two different things. When someone affronts you, you have to excuse him. There is nothing else for you to do. Otherwise, you carry another’s offense around with you. You have to let go of it. From your side, yes, of course, let go of it.
This doesn’t mean to make excuses for another, however. You do not say: “He is tired. He works hard. He wasn’t looking where he was going. He forgot the time. He wasn’t thinking. He doesn’t know better.” All this may well be true. Yet it is not necessary for you to make excuses and explain away that which, to, whatever degree, was hurtful. A dentist may have to cause you pain. As a human being, a dentist does not. No one has to be inconsiderate.
When you make excuses for another, you are babying him. When you make excuses for someone’s lack of consideration, you are taking the role of battered wife. “He didn’t mean it.” That may well be true, yet it was done, and he did it.
You have lived life long enough now to know that inconsiderateness is often a rule of thumb. Inconsiderateness often shows a lack of thinking of another. What is inconsideration but forgetting that another is your brother?
No one has to tiptoe around in life. And, yes, it’s true that the one offended has to take it less personally, has to come to a point where he does not take offense at another’s failings. I propose that the purpose of your being offended is so you yourself learn to be more considerate. That someone is rude is not your doing, and, yet, when you’re offended, you are the one offended and responsible for your hurt feelings and what you do with them and your subsequent thoughts.
At the same time as it is true that you are responsible to everyone for everything, and, yet, as sometimes, you may well have contributed, you are not culpable. You are not to take away another’s responsibility.
If you are at the dinner table, and someone chews noisily with his mouth open, you do not take it personally. You do not say to yourself that you created another’s noisy chewing with his mouth open. It may offend you, and yet you do not take offense. You do not see that his motivation is to offend you. When you do see another as innocent of choosing to offend you, you are less likely to take the offense personally, and, therefore, you are much less likely to make a big to-do of it, and you are much less likely to defend and make excuses for another who has not yet learned what you wish he had.
In this case, another’s breach of table manners simply doesn’t take away your equilibrium. You do not deny him nor defend him because of his chewing. You don’t throw him away. You neither throw him away nor do you make excuses for him.
You are your own offender when you take offense and hang on to it.
I will make no excuse for you, beloved, when you take offense and let it twist inside you like a knife.
When you take offense, and take the offense you do, it is an ego matter. “He has no right to talk to me like that. He has no right to consider me unimportant. I am a person.” Beloveds, you worry about your importance when you are not yet convinced of your true value and, therefore, need more bolstering from the outside. Another person is not really responsible for your self-image.
Will you love yourself as I do love you?