There’s a Zen story a few younger, impulsive warrior who made it his ambition to depose the legendary Grasp of the village. Making his threats and problem public, a big crowd gathered exterior the Grasp’s meager dwelling to witness the competition. Because the younger man arrived with a cheering, jeering entourage, the outdated Grasp stepped exterior with solely a workers in his hand.
Instantly, the younger warrior started his assault, however skillfully, each blow, kick, and punch was deflected by the Grasp. But, he by no means struck again, not making a single offensive transfer. Pissed off by this, the younger warrior resorted to nastiness by throwing rocks, spitting within the Grasp’s face, shrieking insults, and cursing. After hours of this, the younger warrior gave up and left.
The Grasp’s college students hurried to him: “Why did you permit him to insult you with out consequence? How may you not retaliate?” they requested. The Grasp requested in flip, “If somebody presents you a present, however you refuse to simply accept it, then to whom does that reward belong?”
One of many college students answered, “The one who tried to supply it.” The Grasp smiled. “Sure,” he mentioned. “And it’s the similar for anger, curses, and insults. For those who refuse to simply accept these, they should be carried away by the one who tried to burden you with them within the first place.”
As a lot as we’d all love for the vacations to be crammed with nothing however love, pleasure, peace, and hope, we all know that’s not often the case. And having celebrated various household Christmases now, I’ve discovered that not each reward supplied throughout this “season of giving” needs to be opened.
Sure, members of your loved ones will deal with you want a canine’s chew toy, pulling you in each route. Cash can be tight, and never everybody will get precisely what they need. Expectations, as excessive as that star atop the embellished tree, can be unimaginable to fulfill. There can be cranky children, impolite customers, delayed airplanes, and punchy in-laws able to gouge your sore spots: ’Tis the season.
There’s somebody, nonetheless, who can prevent from turning right into a infamous Scrooge: You, and solely you. You alone are chargeable for your actions and reactions. Nobody else, neither the Satan nor your mother-in-law, can “make you do” something.
These across the vacation dinner desk could push your buttons. Your obnoxious Uncle Charlie may try to evoke from you a snarky response. Your nog-loaded neighbor may overstay his go to to your Xmas log. However solely you possibly can management your response.
This being the case, bear in mind the phrases of the Grasp. Refuse to simply accept or react to the spiteful “presents” supplied by others, leaving these to be carried away by the would-be givers. For when you don’t need what somebody has to supply, it’s completely acceptable to depart his or her reward unopened. This may do greater than save your Christmas. It would save your sanity.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist and pastor. Go to his web site at ronniemcbrayer.org.
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