Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Difficult People

What do you do with those people who are spiteful and mean? Telling you to "love your enemies," "pray for those who despitefully use you," "bless them that curse you," or "rejoice when men say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name's sake" can sound flippant or unfeeling. Perhaps this is because we have become too familiar with these phrases.

If you are gladly obeying God, someone is going to hate you for it. This is the truth; God tells us that "all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."

So someone says something spiteful and mean? They ridicule your ideals or your goodness? They misconstrue your motives or twist your words? Satan wants you to cower in impotent fear or retaliate in selfish anger; God wants you to gloriously overcome evil with good. In light of this truth, pray for the spiteful--that God's kingdom will come and His will done in their lives in the same way that it is in heaven.

So someone curses you? They predict failure? They insist that God is against you? Ask God to bless them in any way He sees fit. They may not want the kind of blessing He chooses to give, but He will give it. You may be tempted to be jealously resentful of the kind of blessing He chooses to give them. If you give in to resentment, Satan will be delighted. Move beyond that temptation and grant full forgiveness, as God has forgiven you. After all, those are your prayers that God is answering.

So someone is trying to destroy or damage you in some way? They put you down? They are damaging your reputation unfairly? Love them. Be patient with them, kind to them, willing to suffer for a long time if necessary. Don't act ugly, don't be selfish, don't be easily angered, don't mull over their wrong-doings. Don't think about ingrained evil, but concentrate your thoughts on God's truth. Put up with their manipulations, believe that God is capable of transforming them into the image of Christ, expect Him to work all things together for good for anyone who loves Him, endure whatever happens because you love God and you are committed to furthering His business. Never fail to be loving.

So someone is lying about you in ways that you never would have anticipated. That's good news! You are in great company. Remember Joseph? Job? Elijah? Jeremiah? Isaiah? Peter? Paul? John? As they are even now enjoying the blessings of heaven for eternity, you will also.

Wouldn't you like to know the enemy who's causing this stress in my life? Well, I'd love to tell you about it, but I have some blessing, praying, and loving to do.

God have mercy on us all.

No comments: