I Had Friends That…and No, They Did Not Deserve It

Those who read my blog regularly know that I have a real hot button about people being bullied, minimized, or marginalized. I err on the side of compassion as much as I can. I try to make accommodations for people. It breaks my heart when it seems like people are passing judgment on someone; in essence kicking them when they are down. It makes me wonder if they would do the same for me or someone I love, or just for strangers. I no longer want to know the answer to that question.

We all make decisions in life, and then we live with the consequences of those decisions. In my life, my husband and I decided it was best if one of us was home for our son rather than placing him in daycare. That was important to us, and we felt it was essential to our son. There have been times when groups of people have classified that decision by me and others like me as either laziness or shortsighted on my part. Yet I continued to support their right to decide differently than I decided.

We have had multiple financial setbacks due to unemployment, required relocations, and various major, and I do mean major, medical and other emergencies. This ate up our savings. We bought our home early in a financial upswing in our town {we relocated here}. Yet at this point we are way underwater. Others in our neighborhood are going through the same thing. Many have been foreclosed upon. Every single one of them has ended up in this situation due to job loss, major financial emergency, or both. I love these people deeply.

When I am on Facebook, countless people say that ‘people should have known better than to buy’ or ‘their greed caused this’ . Or that these people are the ‘idiots holding the bag’…the problem is that all of these statements minimize or marginalize good, kind, loving, decent people. If you looked into the faces and eyes of these good, kind, loving people who have lost their homes, could you say that? I cannot. The problem is that even after a short sale, the difference between the mortgage and the sales price becomes taxable ordinary income. But if the house had gone up in value by the same amount, it is tax free income. Despite the rhetoric about how one party is compassionate or another is, the facts remain. Neither side is being compassionate. People I love are ruined, and others say “it’s their own stupid @#$% fault”.

That is what I felt burdened about at church on Saturday. Many people are saying that “homeowners deserve it”. This time the group of people that “deserve it” according to many people, are people I love. When I have pointed out that we are in a similar position due to various job losses and emergencies, they counter with ‘oh we didn’t mean you’ as if that makes it better. Their true feelings and opinions have already been established. Isn’t that like someone spouting off and saying for instance “all Irish are dirty and drunks” and then I say “ahem….I am part Irish-American and I have many Irish relatives and ancestors. they are neither dirty nor drunks” and they say with a dismissive wave of the hand “oh i didn’t mean you, of course”–as if that fixes it. It doesn’t fix it.

No one deserves pain. No one deserves ruination. Many of us are going through it and many more will. I am a Candle Lighter and an optimist. I have spent a lifetime devoted to defending the bullied and marginalized. I have to say that neither I nor the people I love are ‘idiots holding the bag”. Every time I walk out of my house and see the “For Sale” sign on my beloved friend’s home post-foreclosure, I have to say I cry. Not just for her; I cry for our society that is continually diminished by people that insist that the victims deserved it. Saying ‘well i didn’t mean this person, or that group’ doesn’t fix it.

What people that say it don’t realize is that they are saying it about someone they know and supposedly love. They are bullying, minimizing, and marginalizing the people within earshot. It breaks my heart. I know that it says more about the bully than the victim. I know they don’t understand the impact. But it is so horribly painful to know what they think about people I love.

Sometimes it is tempting to know what people may say about you when you aren’t around. When they are saying things about people that are in the same position as you may soon be, you know exactly what they would say about you when you aren’t around. My heart breaks, literally, for my dear friends. I am a perennial optimist. That is still true. It is also true that in times of national crisis we are given an opportunity. An opportunity to see the truth about what people really think. I pray for today and I pray for the future. I pray for the strength to say and mean “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”….Today I am not strong enough to do that…I am never strong enough to do it without God’s grace. Today I am not strong enough to ask God to give me the strength to pray that. I will be-but today, that for sale sign breaks my heart.

Praying : Praying Beautiful Woman Stock Photo

About Kate Kresse

I love to write, I love to talk, I love to uplift people when I can. I am a woman in love with life. I am a wife, mom, tutor, writer, and I am a perennial optimist. (OK not every single minute but you get the point! :-)
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43 Responses to I Had Friends That…and No, They Did Not Deserve It

  1. dogear6 says:

    I go through this with my family all the time. They think because they have money – because they were “wise” and didn’t have to face the problems others have – they are blessed and others are stupid.

    It IS by God’s grace that my husband and I have skirted these issues, but it’s been close at times. I have wished that those who speak such words the loudest would have the opportunity to actually live through them like the rest of us. Unfortunately, at least in my family, they do not. Their money truly does protect them.

    Sorry for the rant, but one little secret my family does not know is that my husband and I live on the edge all the time. I wish we didn’t, but God has been faithful and we’ve learned to not let it drag us down. We’re doing what he called us to do, and having money to live securely didn’t come with the package. My family would be utterly appalled to find we were one of the stupids out there.

    Oh yeah and one other big difference – my husband and I are happy. We’re happy with our lives and we’re happy with each other. Most of my family is not happy for various reasons.

    Nancy

    • Kate Kresse says:

      It fills me with joy that you and your husband are happy. We are too, and despite the financial difficulties, we are very blessed. I appreciate your support and sharing. I know it is difficult sometimes to share—it is for me too, sometimes. Glad you (as you put it) ranted. Have a blessed evening.

  2. Mike Fisk says:

    Great Post Kate. I have a hard time with people who use the ‘they deserved it’ line as well. Funny thing. I don’t recall one verse in the Bible where Jesus used that line on a blind man, a lame man, or a person caught in adultery! 🙂
    B Blessed!
    Mike

  3. misswhiplash says:

    It is tales like this that make me realize just how lucky I am…yes Neville has been very ill but he is recovering. We have our small house in Bulgaria, no mortgage and no debts.. We are not rich and live solely on the English State Pension…. so we have everything that we need and more.

    I feel so ashamed that I should have so much whilst others in this world are suffering homlessness and jobless so in fact I should be happy with my lot…..

    After reading this post I can see now how vast the problem is…and not being American or involved in politics I do not know the answer..can anyone tell me!

    Yes I will pray, and the Good Lord will reply but some action needs to be taken but what?

    Stay solid my friend, keep in touch with the Lord, He will keep you safe and show you the way to go..just carry on believing xxxxx

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Patrecia—i am truly glad that you do not have to worry about that. That is the last thing you need. . . and we Americans don’t know the answer either. That, my friend, has become patently obvious. God will see us and our friends through this, but it is heart rending at times. What has me down, even more than the $ circumstances, is the lack of compassion for people that i know who are in this situation by people who i know that proclaim to be compassionate. It makes me a bit downhearted—I thought I knew their hearts. It turns out I didn’t….but i do now.

      I keep believing and know that “joy cometh in the morning”

  4. Tilly Bud says:

    Sometimes bad things happen in life. If we are trying to do the best with what we’ve got, that doesn’t mean we deserve it.

    Excellent post.

  5. fgassette says:

    I feel your pain and I understand. I am a black woman who is a single parent and experienced many treatments of unfairness, misjudgements and criticism. Yet I survived. I survived the looks, the talk, the unfair treatment and sometimes the hate. I survived! I never look back on those occasions with distain but with love and appreciation because I see that when I was at my lowest God was by my side and through all the struggles I am a stronger, more compassionate person because of it. TO GOD THE GLORY!
    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!
    I talked a little about this in my post here: http://francineinretirement.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/dare-to-dream/

    • Kate Kresse says:

      thanks Francine: I will read your post…i can survive it all through God who walks by me. But I cannot stand by while people I love are maligned. I cannot, as they say, remain a member of a club once I find out the club is inhabited by bigots. I was raised better than that. I know God is at my side. The source of my pain is the repeating shocking discovery that people that I thought were loving, compassionate, and kind are being cruel and celebrating the suffering of others. They are celebrating the pain that people I know are going through—and that we could go through. Yet they continue to hold themselves up as paragons of compassion and criticize others for being uncompassionate.

  6. My Son was bullied at School because he had Red hair…..We have much to learn in life.. Especially those who use bullying tactics Bullies are usually insecure … and a little afraid themselves. and probably need a whole lot of love.. xx

    • Kate Kresse says:

      I am so sorry your son was bullied. And for red hair—i just heard something on the news recently about that being a huge thing people are being bullied about. I agree that bullies are typically insecure. However, to remain in a conversation where the bullying is taking place is like condoning it. Trying to convince them they are wrong ends up going nowhere. Then you have to walk away and re-group. I agree the bullies need love. I would hope that if they had any concept of the damage they are causing, they would stop.

      • We would hope that if they realised that, they would stop, however many do not see themselves as Bullies, as they are very often over dominant and you may find that they have been themselves victims of bullying tactics in the past…… A never ending circle.. we can only send out our love and thoughts to those who feel the need to rule another by fear, which by the way goes right to the top of the tree in some cases in corporate businesses where much of it still goes on..

  7. Northern Narratives says:

    Great post. I think it is terrible when people judge others and blame them for misfortune. How wonderful that you are not blind to what is happening. Only by seeing can we help to make things better 🙂

    • Kate Kresse says:

      I do too. As I said to my friend on the phone this morning, it was like i suddenly looked around the room and realized I had “wandered into the wrong party”. I had to move to another room :-). Love my blogging community #————————–X———————–# T-H-I-S Much. 😉

  8. Labeling others is quite simply a sign that one feels a need to be separate from and better than others. More importantly, it says that one fears that he or she is *not* so different or superior, and *that* is what really frightens a bully. There’s something to Prove. And it’s almost always something sad and bitter and ugly about the person setting out to prove the point rather than otherwise. Unfortunately, it only engenders more fear and hatred, and I confess that I find it hard to ignore or forgive such attitudes, so I’m one of the people tainted by it.

    But I’m also on the side of the perpetual optimists, and it’s your very presence here, your being willing to speak and confront such darkness with your candlelight, that gives others hope. I thank you for that.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Thanks, Kathryn. I find it hard to forgive, too, and even harder to forget. When people reveal their “true colors” it is hard to undo the impression they create. So I guess I could say it taints me, too….trust can be a tenuous thing. Yes bullies are insecure, and bullying behavior says more about the bully than the bullied. But on the other hand, how many times do you continue to expose yourself to that bullying behavior or the potential of being bullied? I guess I go back to the old expression “if you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you always got”. :-). Yes, I can and often do confront. But there reaches a point where you know that the words are (at least for now) falling on deaf ears.

  9. Terri O.A. says:

    There just aren’t a lot of people that have basic insight and kindness. One of the sweetest things I have ever seen was a woman who brought a bag of food out to a man who was sitting outside a grocery store. She leaned over, and said…..Here is the food that you ordered sir….of course he had not. She treated him with such kindness and dignity. I admire you Kate. You are a truly kind person……..rare.

  10. Patti Kuche says:

    And these people are making those comments at church??? What happened to the notion that there for the grace of God . . .?

    All best wishes to you and all Kate. The deaf ears hear only the sound of their own voices.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Oh! no, they didn’t make them at church….they made them on FB and in general conversations NOT at church. Gosh—sorry i created that impression. definitely NOT at church…you are right about deaf ears.

      • Patti Kuche says:

        That they shouldn’t be said anywhere anyway, plus no-one on this planet knows what statistical nightmare is going to come knocking on their doors, is only stating the obvious. Sorry for taking the wrong impression!

        • Kate Kresse says:

          Amen to that Patti—just wanted to clarify that it wasn’t strangers at work saying it. Those strangers and friends at my church are no doubt going through this horrible trauma. This was said by people who live elsewhere. Not a problem at all. 🙂

  11. Sending up prayers for you, for your neighbors, and especially for those that don’t think before they talk with such unkindness and judgement. Though good people like you and me may struggle with external forces such as financial set backs, they struggle with a much harsher force, a darkened heart.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Gosh you are right! I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thank you for giving me a healthy perspective, a way to pray for them, and even more importantly a way to stop being angry at them. I appreciate that more than I know how to express.

  12. Kathy says:

    Great post, Kate.Very well said.

  13. pbus1 says:

    Hi Kate,

    It is a very sad commentary, that people judge others in this way! The truth of the matter is, “there but for the grace of God go I!” Thank God for your huge heart, and love for the people of God! May God bless you, richly! Your friend will be in my prayers! May we all hold each other up in prayer today!

    Paulette

    • Kate Kresse says:

      I would imagine each of us has unknowingly or knowingly been harsh in this way. I do pray that I will be wise, considerate, and thoughtful as i “bumble” through life. May God bless you, too Paulette. Your prayerful example is a touchstone for all who encounter you. –Kate

  14. Maria Tatham says:

    Kate, you are right about this. We shouldn’t do this, and it hurts to hear it done, even when there’s a smidgen of truth in there somewhere, about how perhaps someday should have been wiser. But they weren’t, so now is not the time to say so.
    Sometimes I’ve thought that the slight hearing loss I’ve suffered is a blessing in disguise. I can’t hear whisperers and backbiters as well. God forgive us for doing these things ourselves.
    Yes, don’t kick people at any time, let alone when they’re down.
    Praying for your friend!
    Maria

  15. Pingback: Joy Forwarding Challenge #2: Stand Up to Bullies | Joy Forwarding Project

  16. Pingback: Joy Forwarding Challenge #2: Stand Up to Bullies | Believe Anyway

  17. I couldn’t agree with you more. There is never a good reason to kick someone when he/she is down.

  18. Please delete earlier post – gremlins!

    Coming to this post late. Sad to say that we live in a Society which accepts that bullying and intimidation are OK. The strong ones are those who stand up and say or do what they believe in.

    I spent 10 years working for a company who used those tactics as a way of controlling staff. I always believed that, that behaviour was wrong and frequently said so. I paid a price for doing that. Had my progression curbed and eventually I left. Moved on to a better position and job with former colleagues. Colleagues who, like me, suffered at the hands of their employer and like me stood up to the establishment.

    If you work for a business long enough and to keep yourself “safe in that environment” then it is easier to behave in your life in the same manner. Rightly or wrongly people do.

    Sometimes, being brave and standing up and being counted when it matters is a lonely place to be, but is absolutely the right thing to do.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Absolutely right, Julie. After I have been in that situation for various reasons. Standing up and being counted is not only right, but it puts you in a select group. It reminds me of an old Rosalind Russell movie called “A Majority of One”. During the course of the movie, one of the characters says “When you are right, you are in the majority of one”. So very true.

      • Certainly very true. It reminds me of a former manager who said, make sure whatever you are accountable for is in the middle of whatever spreadsheet is relevant. Your a sitting target at the top and the bottom!

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