You can’t count on people to help you make your climb to the top; however you can expect them to try and knock you down once you get there.
I’m replaying Pixar’s short film, “For the Birds,” in my head, and remembering the story. You’ve got a little bird who lands on a wire, and feels pretty good about himself. He’s subsequently joined by others who take the spotlight off him, and he becomes visibly annoyed, expressing his displeasure to the other birds around him. Once the little birds are joined by a big bird, who is “different” than them, they turn their attention to him, channeling their frustration, pecking at him and eventually knocking him down off the wire. What the little birds didn’t realize was that the big bird was weighing down the wire, and once he fell off, the wire sprung back and hurled them through the air like a slingshot causing physical harm and much embarrassment to themselves. Find it on YouTube if you haven’t seen it.
All the while as the little birds pecked at him, the big bird was unaware of their disdain for him, even blissfully so. This is one of the aspects from the story that I connect to the Father, and his love for His children; even when we are being attacked, he works everything out for our good!
It’s usually at our highest, happiest points in life, on those mountaintop experiences where we feel like we could just jump off and soar, that we can expect people to bring us back down to earth. Perhaps it’s a misguided intention to keep us from becoming too proud. Or perhaps it’s simply jealousy. Either way, when people bring you down, it hurts.
Ever overheard a conversation where someone was putting you down behind your back? Or had someone use a weak compliment as a means to deliver a hurtful, thinly-veiled criticism, right to your face? It hurts. The sad part is that usually the people that we allow closest to us are the ones with the ability to hurt us the most.
What entices us to bring down the ones we love? I try to give people the benefit of the doubt when they are delivering those painful blows, believing that causing hurt isn’t their true intention, but an inadvertent reaction to an underlying issue, rooted in jealousy, pride or hurt of their own. It is this belief that reminds me again of 1 Peter 4:8; And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
Love never fails. Love calls forth a maturity that causes us to put away our childish ways and wisely reason with faith, hope and love. Our spiritual growth can be stunted when we allow hurt to take root and become an obsession, leaving us to function from within that obsession in an immaturity based on hurt, pride and jealousy. Love is not just a word, or a way to qualify a condemning or criticizing point of view; rather, love is a mature action that calls forth “the best” in people, without the predetermination of what “the best” is for them.
Peace & Love.