Not a day goes by in our lives, when we don’t experience someone either annoying us or hurting our feelings. The more people that we come into contact with, then the more probable it is that our feelings (or theirs) will be bruised. Since this happens so often, let’s look at the why, of the annoyance or hurt feelings. Is it what has been said? What the person did? How the person looks? Is it based on Race? Color? Creed? It could also be a combination of any of these. For example, a person who has a look you don’t like says something which you also don’t like. I guess you are wondering where we are going with this.

One of the keys to our understanding ourselves is, knowing the why of the negative feelings that we experience. Why do we dislike certain people? We can list countless reasons for that why. Probably, as many people who exist, that many reasons will be found. But a simpler, much more direct approach is not to look at the external why, the person or thing that offends us. But rather, turn our gaze inwardly. The common denominator of all the reasons of annoyance and hurt feelings lies inside us. Why don’t we like something?

Often, we will try to justify our dislike for someone with statements like: He shouldn’t have done, or said that; He is thoughtless, selfish. You get the idea. How often the person is disliked, because of an action performed. Do you hear that last sentence? How often we dislike the person, because of what he did. Christ loved the sinner but not the sin. That is key for us. We don’t stop liking (loving) the person, because of a word said, an action performed, a religion believed, how the person looks.

The person did wrong. He acted improperly. He was oblivious to my feelings. “He, who is without sin, cast the first stone”. We have no problem justifying our dislike for someone. But we, somehow, can very easily excuse our own faults.

We are only scratching the surface of this question. Did you ever notice how we tolerate some action performed by one person, but the exact same action in another? No way. It is times like this, that we should look inside. The action does not really bother us, but some aspect of the person. If we are true to ourselves at these moments, we can make great strides in learning much about ourselves. Again, if I joke about a wart on your nose, and you have none, no offense is taken. But if I point out something that you do have, and you are concerned about it, then the statement will bother you. Here the person said something that touched an area that made you feel uncomfortable, and you transferred your discomfort to the person.

 The point of this is to let you realize that many of our dislikes stem from within ourselves. When we have negative feelings about a word said, an action done, a person, we have an opportunity. Look at that negative feeling, what is it? Why is it? We can learn a lot about ourselves, by trying to understand where that feeling comes from. What does it mean to me? Why do I have it? If we can understand that negative feeling, understand from where, inside us, does  it comes, we have learned something about ourselves. And this is a positive step.  We can address the source of that feeling, work on eliminating it, and work towards a time when that feeling won’t bother us, anymore. In understanding ourselves, we will have eliminated something that was preventing us from seeing the Christ in others.