To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.
That line from Confucius sums up my attitude about the people who have wronged me in life. People have wronged me, but it takes some effort to remember those wrongs. This is because I never think about them. Nursing slights and holding grudges is a ridiculous thing. It gives life to things that are dying and should die.
I edit people out of my life. The people who know me figure this out at some point. I suspect the people who find themselves out of my life think I hold some grudge or ill will towards them, but I don't. The reason people find themselves put out of my life is because they have demonstrated a propensity to cause harm to others and to me. It's like that manager who said, "I don't fire people. They fire themselves." Likewise, people put themselves out of my life.
I have had a lot of people in my life who live under the delusion that people will always and everywhere tolerate their crap. So, they are crappy people who persist in their crappiness. They believe that the rest of the world will just put up with that crap forever, and they are shocked when someone like me doesn't put up with it.
No single act can put someone out of my life since this would be pettiness and a lack of charity. When you deal with people, they are certain to disappojnt you at some point. We are fallen beings, and we sin. Love covers the multitude of these sins.
I believe each person has a weighing machine, and the weight of each person's actions determines if they remain in or leave my life. The repetitive nature of someone's actions does more to tip that balance one way or the other than a single act. People lacking self-awareness often ask, "What did I do?" They only see the immediate transgression and not the accumulation of transgressions. They are blind and will always remain this way.
Once someone is out of my life, the burden is upon them to tip the balance back the other way. Since they can't make it up to me, they must labor and do some general good to others, go to church, do works of mercy, etc. By doing these things, they show they are no longer evil and wish harm upon others. Such a dramatic change in life can only push me to accept those people back into my life. I am forgiving, but I am also prudent.
I never thought up this system. It invented itself out of necessity. The bad experiences of my life pushed me to think and act in these ways. Looking back, I understand that this is how God deals with me. My weighing system is very much like how I relate with God. God is patient with me, but I know that my repeated sins do damage and can end my relationship with Him. So, I endeavor to maintain that relationship. I live a life of perpetual penitence. Do good. Shun evil. Pray always. Help people whenever you can and never expect anything in return.
The people I feel genuinely sorry for are the "collaterals." It is rare that any relationship you have with others is in isolation. For instance, you can't cut it off with someone without also cutting it off with their spouse. Similarly, there will be those who insist on you tossing your scales and putting up with crap. These people are not necessarily bad people, but they are lax in their tolerance for crap. I find these people are doormats or driven by ulterior motives in their insistence that you not break it off with crappy people. So, they share the fate of the shunned as an inevitable consequence of what can only be considered stupidity. As I am fond of saying, ignorance is not the same as evil, but they are first cousins. There is a reason the Book of Proverbs is included in the Bible. You have a moral obligation to not be stupid.
Don't allow or tolerate crappy people in your life. My biggest regrets in life flow from my inability to adhere to this simple wisdom. Bad people will bring you down. This is why you need to surround yourself with good people. I love the notion of the lone wolf against the world, but this is more fantasy than reality. Good people are not loners. They have relationships, and those relationships strengthen them. And if you are really wise, you will seek out people who are better than you, and this will improve you. Finally, there is God. Seek God. This has the double effect of making you better but also making bad people flee from you. This is why government charity and NGOs fail at helping the poor where the Church succeeds. Religion is a moral force that no secular endeavor can match, and this moral force is what tips the weighing machine in people's lives.
Bad people destroy themselves. This is the point that needs to be made and hammered in good and hard. People drown in their sins, and their only real desire from you is to not let them drown alone. They wish for you to drown with them. You might fool yourself into thinking you are helping these people, but you are not. These people see you as nothing more than a flotation device. The moment they use you up, they will think nothing of tossing you like a sack of wet garbage. They will consume you and then dispose of you. People who feel some guilt over letting people drown in their sins should stop feeling guilty.
I have suffered greatly because of bad people, but that suffering has given me an incomparable gift. It has liberated me from any guilt or possible remorse over these people. I can cut it off with anyone and not ever think about it again. I could fire someone who needs firing, and I would be at peace with it. I could kill a criminal or home invader in the most violent way possible and sleep well that night.
I was reading on another site an answer to a question. How can it be Heaven when we know and see people in Hell? I found the answer unsatisfactory mainly because it dwelled on theory instead of experience. The simple answer is that justice is satisfaction. It is satisfying to see people get what they deserve even if the people are ones we know and love. Similarly, mercy is satisfying in the same way. The bottom line is that on Judgment Day, we will all be granted what we loved and desired most. For me, this is God. For those in Hell, it is eternal damnation.
It boggles the mind that anyone would seek and yearn for eternal damnation. But the ones who don't get it have never had contact with truly evil people. I have. Trust me, they want Hell. Not only do they not resist Hell, they fly into Hell in much the same way they destroy themselves in this life.
People bring Hell with them. It isn't about letting these people into Heaven. These people are in Hell because they are Hell. In this life, this state of being is mutable. In the afterlife, it becomes fixed. This is why it is better to not think of Hell as a place so much as a state of being. You can escape a place. You can never escape yourself.
Hell is a good point to transition to other more pleasant thoughts.
An apostle who does not pray regularly and methodically will necessarily fall into lukewarmness...and he will then cease to be an apostle.
This quotation comes from Saint Josemaria Escriva. Escriva looms large in my spirituality and life. This particular quotation burns more fiercely than others because it touches on a personal struggle of mine. I find it hard to pray on the regular. I have a plan of life that I follow, but I must confess that I have been neglecting it lately. I am struggling against sloth in my prayer life and laziness in general. What is wrong with me?
There is one thing I know. Your effectiveness in work, family life, apostolate, etc. flows from the quality of your prayer life. If you get your prayer right, the rest will follow. Even Jesus made it a point to be apart in order to pray.
I will honestly admit that I pray more than the average Christian or Catholic. I do not say this to brag but merely to point to how awesome having a Plan of Life is. Striving to live that plan and failing will still do wonders for you. But succeeding! That would really be awesome.
Praying more has been my New Year's Resolution. I pray that I will pray more. Please pray for me.