Have you ever thought that portions of your life were really totally unnecessary? Those areas were probably times when your thorns were your guide.
You know…those aspects about yourself that are not your strong points. Okay, basically, your thorns are the undesirable traits in your personality. Maybe things like selfishness, jealousy, uncontrollable anger and a billion other characteristics that we think of as being “bad” to exhibit. They are your thorns.
In the Bible, there is a verse that talks about our thorns and calls them motes:
Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.
It is easy to see the “problems” in other people’s character AND it is often easy to tell them how to correct these character defects. The problem actually occurs when you refuse to look inward at your own actions and motes. If you are arrogant about your “goodness” and have the thorns that you persecute in others, you would be a hypocrite.
Most of the time, I truly believe, people are simply blind to their own faults. They feel so bad about their own choices and life that the only way they can feel halfway okay about living requires them to persecute the thorns in others.
Being open to change requires humility and vulnerability. Sheesh, who wants to be THAT open?! If you lay open your soul, you are open to the possibility of getting hurt. I don’t know about you, but being hurt is the one thing I definitely don’t want to experience. However, as much as I have tried to avoid the pain, I have gotten hurt.
Pain in life is unavoidable. Absolutely unavoidable. If it were possible, I would have already figured out how to avoid it.
Having thorns should keep us humble and tolerant of others, but it doesn’t for the majority of society. Someone I know always says, “Don’t worry about everyone else…Just keep your side of the street clean.”
Basically, if you look inward to identify your thorns and work to rid yourself of them, you wouldn’t have time to worry about the thorns that appear in others.
When I am stuck with a thorn from another person, my gut reaction is not any different than yours…I want to lash out or retreat and hide. Some people enable others to continue having thorns without consequences. Like anything else, there are extremes. It is a fine line that separates “letting you live your life” and “enabling you as you wreck my life.”
Is it the other person’s fault if they are wrecking your life?
Let me reword that…Is it ENTIRELY the other person’s fault if they are wrecking your life?
Go look in the mirror. Do you see someone familiar? Oh yeah! You! You also have a part in the unhappiness. You ALLOW the other person to hurt you with their thorns. There are ways to protect yourself even if you have to go to the extreme and completely push them out of your life.
I’m not saying any of this is easy…
Removing your own mote or thorns is not easy because you actually seeing and admitting them to yourself is rather rough.
If you love the other person, letting suffer the consequences of their thorny behavior is not easy either.
None of it is easy.
Living isn’t easy!
Focusing on your own thorns and motes will make your life happier. Not enabling other people will also add to your happiness.
The best advice I can give is actually a quote that I heard today:
“People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable.
Be honest and transparent anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People who really want help may attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt.
Give the world your best anyway.”
– Mother Teresa
Recognizing and eliminating your thorns helps you to improve and more fully appreciate life.
Is it worth it? I think so.
No. I know it is worth it.
Not easy, but worth it.