One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says that they’re going to do something, and then there is no follow-through. I take people at their word, and I expect them to take me at mine.
The worst part of this, I think, is when I find myself doing exactly what I hate most. (Romans 7, anyone?) It’s an awful cycle. I’ll give you an example:
Sunday nights I generally reserve for watching the children at my parents’ small group. There are usually two kids I spend time with, occasionally three. We have a lot of fun playing in the backyard on the swings or in the basement with blocks.
But early last month, I had a Sunday afternoon bridal shower to attend. I had figured in the length of time that the shower would take, but I had forgotten that there would be about an hour drive in each direction, not to mention time I’d spend after the shower talking with friends from high school. By the time that we were on our way back home, I was already late, so I canceled on them.
The kids were devastated, and the small group didn’t accomplish near what they normally do due to my absence.
My guilt drove me nuts that next week. At first, I felt awful that I’d told the parents (and the kids) that I would be there later that evening and wasn’t. Then, after realizing that I complain most when people do this to me, a new wave of guilt washed over me as I began to see myself as this horrible hypocrite.
I’ve found that I guilt others in the same horrible way. If someone promises me something, I expect it. I take people at their word. If it doesn’t happen, if there’s no follow-through, I become angry and unforgiving. I don’t leave room to consider for miscalculations like the one I had or for confusion or a just plain change of the mind. You would think I would be more understanding, but that’s not usually the case.
This recently happened with a friend of mine. I’m trying to decide if I should just let it go or if I should stop trusting this person. I watch as just about everything this person says to me falls through, and then this friend wants to shrug it off as if nothing happened.
So, the question is, is it time to no longer believe anything this person says anymore? Or do I forgive and pretend as if nothing happened?