You know, when I have it in me to insult someone, I generally don’t feel bad about it. Maybe I’m a bad person, but guilt doesn’t strike me if I intended my action. The difference, of course, is if the other person responds by killing me with kindness. That’s pretty effective at cutting through my coal exterior. Never fails at making me realize I was the jerk all along.
But yeah, as I was saying, if I intend to insult, hurt, harm, whatever, I generally do it remorselessly. It’s pretty sick, actually.
But I don’t think I’m so callous. After all, most times, I *don’t* intend to harm, hurt, or insult. So, if I accidentally do so, I feel terrible. Or even worse…I feel terrible when people interpret my motivations as being to insult. When they think that my only goal and reason to interact with them at that given time is to abuse. Such great misunderstanding! It is so tragic when intention is so totally misunderstood…and something that is meant to help is instead taken as something meant to destroy.
But this isn’t just unique for me. Rather, isn’t this what plenty of people suffer through? Especially ex-Mormons when they deal with Mormon relatives or friends. When Mormons reach out to the disaffected, I am pretty sure that most of them hope to help. So, aren’t they just as hurt when the disaffected member (or ex-member) instead sees their efforts as harmful and damaging? The believer didn’t mean — in any sense — to harm, and yet the miscommunication is so great that that’s the only story that will get out, most of the time.
However, I recognize that resolving this isn’t so simple. As much as I want to say, “Please, forgive me — I was only trying to help” (and as much as anyone who reaches out wants to say this), this doesn’t change the fact that the other person has been harmed, even if unintentionally.
And how do we apologize after we’ve done such a thing?