If my neighbor was to approach me with a gift and I refused to accept it, what would happen to the gift? It would remain with my neighbor. This may seem like a silly thing to do — why would someone reject a gift — but what if the gift was unwanted and uncalled for criticism? If I refuse to accept this negative gift, the harsh, unloving words will remain with my neighbor. At times we fail to realize that we can reject the hurtful things that are said to us and about us.
If we accept these cruel words we give them power to hurt us. But, if we reject them, the words are left to hurt the ones who spoke them, and they must carry the results of their cruelty. We can say “no” to hurtful gifts. “What you are saying is not true, and, no, I will not accept your criticism.” We denounce the gift, but not the giver. We do not repay evil with evil. But, we recognize the voice that cries out for love within our adversary, and we give love instead of evil.
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