[You won’t like this.]
I hardly ever meet people who can apologize without excuses, or who can handle rebuke with a level head, or who don’t immediately lash out and get defensive when they’re corrected. I only know this because I’m that guy, too.
We do everything possible to avoid the consequences of our actions, to hold on to some tiny frayed rope of self-righteousness, to desperately grab for some centimeter of posture in a tug-of-war. We run to “What-about-you?” as if that cancels out the hurt we’ve caused. Such a sloppy mirror-defense uses someone else’s “tone” or past grievance to wiggle out of being wrong, like some kind of insane free-styling Walter White to proclaim up is left and purple is sky. Every suggestion is shot down by a sniper’s rocket launcher in a walled-up tower of self-pity, without considering the other point of view, the other human being, even for a fraction of a second.
All that energy could be used to hold up the mirror to yourself, to own your part of the problem. But I never see that anymore. I only see the irresponsibility of regurgitating excuses, a rehearsal of Sisyphus in an isolated hell. I only see the comfort zone of yes-men, never stretched or challenged, choking in a bizarre backwards world of fawning and flattery to protect a precious egg-shell ego.
If you think I’m talking about your neighbor or your parents or your boss or that church down the street, I’m not. I’m talking about you. About me. That’s part of the problem. No one wants to think, “I’m part of the problem.” I’m talking directly to you.
I’m just jaded. In the last month alone, I’ve seen even the best kinds of people respond to criticism by throwing f-bombs, fake-crying their way out, and shifting blame to a billion other people, no matter how gentle I am, no matter how soft or loving or coddling. In fact, it appears that grace is hijacked as a permission slip, or a loophole to play dumb, when grace was meant to be a surgical, sculpting love that has to say everything: that must stop you from driving off the cliff at all costs.