I was sitting in a chair printed with a tasteful, lattice pattern when the title of this post came to mind. Part of me wanted to deny that I was hurting, but on the other hand the release of such words sounded freeing. Recently, I was encouraged to be the “bigger person” as I was dealing with a painful relationship. And as I sat in that bright orange, lattice patterned chair, swiveling back and forth, the rhythmic motion seemed to give clarity to what being the “bigger person” entails or rather what it looks like.
It is no secret that human beings have this incredible power to encourage, support and uplift people while simultaneously others decidedly rip, gnash, and tear at the very fabric of who we are. It is confusing how both encouragement and cursing come often from the same tongue. In the book of James, his pen curves out words that describe and uncover why there seems to be this conundrum beyond the fact that this whole world sins. In James 3:8 he records that, “no human being can tame the human tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” And I believe that is why in Scripture we are constantly commanded to watch what we say because one day we will be accounted for every careless word we speak (Matthew 12:36-37).
But what happens when you are on the receiving end of the careless words spoken or thoughtless actions done by another person? Why is the first little antidote chimed by other people is to be the “bigger person?” How do you attain the position of being the bigger person without simultaneously at times being “the hurting person” or the “wanting to get back at you” person?” What is the definition tied to being the “bigger person?”
Part of me wants to say that I don’t care or that it is totally possible to not be hurt as long as you do this or that but I would be lying. Every case bears its own marks. Sometimes you CAN walk away unscathed, but other times the pain associated with being the bigger person is suffocating.
When you are the “bigger person”, sometimes this means you are going to be the hurting person.
And you can handle that statement a couple different ways. My main instinct is to stuff the emotions that readily rise to the surface which results in a calloused bitterness or a point where all my emotions could bubble over. However, others may handle it through the lanes of addiction, confrontation, gossiping about it with others or alienating themselves from the situations.
But I propose that God’s definition of being the “bigger person” entails a complete demolition of what comes naturally to us.
If I can share anything worthy to grace this space or type anything worth your time as you read, it is that one thing remains resolute as I walk as a sojourner here on earth. It is Jesus Christ. He is my Savior, Friend, and Father. He is able to sympathize with my greatest sufferings, hurt, pain, and grief. He is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). He understands the burdens of my heart (Matthew 11:28-29). Because He, himself, has walked through the gravest of sufferings. He has endured through the highest amount of immense pain and shame (Isaiah 53:2-5). And went through it without opening his mouth out of anger, without storming off and giving the silent treatment, without decidedly making plans to get back.
Being the bigger person should mirror the example of Jesus. And if He wasn’t able to avoid the hurt and pain associated with that status, then the assumption is that neither will you or I.
So when we are in this position, we as the “bigger person” should reflect what Scripture commands of us. Be slow to speak, slow to anger, and be quick to hear (James 1:19). Charles Spurgeon expounds on this passage, “If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him; for you are worse than he thinks you to be.” A recent post pointed out that as Christians, as believers, we are to bear our injuries with joy, patience, love, and gentleness. Because we are to be imitators of Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 11:1).
Being the “bigger person” has translated into being the “example of Jesus person.” It is okay to voice my doubts and fears to Him because He listens. It isn’t to say I always feel like that but a confidence that He IS there. Thankfully His Word proves true every single time (Proverbs 30:5). Thankfully His character is what remains faithful. And sometimes when you are the bigger person you will be the hurting person, but thankfully the Word of God plainly states that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). Thankfully He heals the brokenhearted and binds their wounds (Psalm 147:3).
In the name of Jesus, I am able to be the “bigger person” because He is who gives me the strength. In the name of Jesus, I am able to be the “bigger person” because He is my example. So while the wounds heal, take notice that we will be renewed in strength, run without growing weary, and walking and not fainting.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.