The very thought of “taking the high road” triggers two kinds of responses. On a good day and when one doesn’t have any difficult person that immediately comes to mind, the response is easy: “Of course we should take the high road whenever possible! It’s the right thing to do.” However, for the person who is in the middle of dealing with someone difficult, spiteful, annoying, etc., the very thought of taking the high road causes him/her to cringe. Or sink deeper in their seat. Let’s delve a bit deeper. What are the vitals for understanding what it means to take the high road?
- It is difficult
The very notion of taking the high road is one that most of us mentally agree to, but find insanely hard to do when the rubber meets the road. I’m sorry. That’s too many idioms in one sentence. Let’s start by a brief mention of what is meant re: “high road”. Grammarist.com provides one such: “To take the high road is an American phrase which means to approach an endeavor or problem in a fashion that is above pettiness, to travel the moral high ground, to behave decently.” So, I’m sure I’m not the only one who, when faced with some super annoying folks, struggles with the very idea of behaving decently.
2. It is the way of love
I have been on a journey in which I’m learning to truly love. Not “love” in the sweet, flippant way it is used in everyday society, but loving people as Christ loves me, and loves them. His is an intentional, pursuing, consistent and unyielding love. He loved us before we first loved Him. Way before we ever considered Him. We’re told in Scriptures that it is His love that brings us to repentance. Do you know that’s really true? It is in my case. No matter how difficult or stubborn I am, genuine and consistent love causes me to change towards whoever it is showing it to me. And certainly towards God. I think it’s how we humans are wired – to respond to love. That’s why slogans like “Love Wins” are popular. No matter how long it takes for a person to respond to love, they eventually will. Love is super powerful.
3. It is a choice we make
Which brings me back to the high road discussion. I had to make this choice recently with regard to a very painful interaction I had with someone. I had expected way more of said person and was shocked (and a bit shaken) by their behavior. I knew that their behavior was waaaaay out of line. I knew it had to be corrected. I also knew they were ready for a continuous fight. To end it, one of us would have to choose a different path. I wrestled so much within me. Why should it be me? I was in the right! That behavior came out of nowhere! They need to apologize to ME. And on it went. Days later, I reached a point of surrender, when I felt the Lord nudging me inside to just take a risk – to love on this person as He would.
4. It calls for honesty
After asking for His help (because, believe me, this behavior was not, like, inherent to me!), I thought about something I could genuinely apologize for, and approached the person on that basis. I had to ensure that I wasn’t lying just to make peace. That aspect would go against who I am at my core. When that was done and as the conversation truly opened up between us, at a point, I was able to lovingly slip in how things could’ve been done differently by that person. I made sure it wasn’t about me, because honestly, by that point in the conversation, it wasn’t any more. I was trying to help the person with their other relationships going forward. My rationale? We all have blind spots. I have had people call out mine. I find that the pill is easier to swallow when it goes down with a spoonful of love.
5. It is ultimately the best choice
The situation I described above turned out well. I know for sure that I would’ve had a very different outcome if I didn’t risk rejection for the sake of peace and showing love. I am not naïve. I also know that the situation may also not have ran as smoothly as I desired. That said, this I know: it ultimately pays to take that high road. Making such a choice may not have immediate rewards for you or me, but down the road, and to the eyes of Christ (the best example!), it is the best choice to make. I choose love.
Have you ever faced such a situation? What were your choices (good or not as good)? Are you willing to share the outcome, good or bad? Curious minds wanna know! 🙂