Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Conflict cannot survive when only one person participates. Unknown

In life do we take the high road, the middle road, or the low road? John C. Maxwell in his book, “Winning With People,” gives a definition of each of these roads.

The low road – where we treat others worse than they treat us.  The middle road – where we treat others the same as they treat us.  The high road – where we treat others better than they treat us.        

The low road will damage our relationships – perhaps beyond repair, even if we someday want to repair them. The middle road might not drive people away from us but it won’t heal a breach if we need to be the one that tries to heal it. The high road helps to foster positive relationships, not making the relationship worse may help to bring people together, and it is difficult to fight with those who refuse to fight. By trying to see the best in others we may even help them to see the best in themselves.

If someone gives us grace at times in our lives to not think we are the worst of our actions, and we give grace to others, trying to help when we can, and not judging people as irredeemable, doesn’t that make it better for everyone? We won’t be perfect at this, we will probably get drawn into arguments we wish we’d been strong enough to stay out of. We will make mistakes and missteps and so will other people.

We may wish people would be different than they are, but the only people we can change are ourselves. If we don’t like that people take advantage of us, we will have to learn not to be taken advantage of.

I know some people take exception to the phrase, “Hate the sin but love the sinner.” I think it is useful because we can and I think should separate people’s behavior from them as a person. I said to my husband yesterday, “We all agree murder is wrong, but if someone in our family commits murder, we wouldn’t be okay with what they’ve done, but we would also realize they are not only that act, however, it came about.”  

How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours. Wayne Dyer

It seems to me that the people who take the low road become bitter, the people who take the middle road are comfortable with themselves, and the people who take the high road are at peace. This is a choice we make and we may make different choices in different situations. Our life may be a series of choices, some of them taking the low road, the middle, and the high road. I think when we look back over our lives we will be proud of ourselves every time we took the high road, and wince every time we have to acknowledge we took the low road.  

Weak people revenge. Strong people forgive. Intelligent people ignore. Albert Einstien

Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the high road to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction. Margaret Thatcher

My best life advice: Take the high road. No matter how much stress, or strain, or consternation you are facing, take the high road. You will never regret it. Tim Gunn         

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