Sunday, September 26, 2010

Difficult People

Do you have anyone in your life who just drives you straight up a tree? Do you cringe when you think about something that person has said or done to unnerve you? Do your thoughts become consumed with that person's wicked ways?

Y'all, I have to be honest today. I've been battling a very difficult person. The mention of this person's name is enough to make my head spin and my pulse quicken. I've been consumed with the error of this evildoer's actions. I've talked to Brian about it until we're both sick of the discussion. I've journaled about it, prayed about, and now I'm blogging about it.

The fact of the matter is that I was just hit square in the face with some truth. Brian and I were discussing it for the 758th time, and he said, "This has become an obsession for you."

I'm so glad that I have a husband who speaks truth into my life. He loves me enough to know when he needs to shut me down. I love him for that. Good marriages are all about purification. This was a cleansing moment.

I quickly retreated upstairs to the guest room. This has become my Bible study spot. I plopped down in the chair-and-a-half, and began to scribble down a prayer as fast as my hand would write.

I paused and asked the Lord to lead me to His word on the issue. Instantly, I turned to 1 John. I read all 5 chapters. 1 John allows for no misinterpretation when he repeatedly makes the case for loving others. My love for God can only be as strong as my love for me greatest enemy. My obedience to the Lord is only as great as my obedience to the command of loving others. After all, the two greatest commandments are love God and love people.

Immediately, I began journaling again, "God, I need your help in this. I am making a royal mess of your command to love people. I need you to show me, to equip me, to teach me how to love this difficult person. I CANNOT do it by myself. I'm weak in this. Please redeem it. Show your strength and power over my sin."

Suddenly, I felt a rush of relief. It's not that I hadn't already asked for God's help in this matter. Certainly , I had. It was a matter of the Lord putting this in perspective for me. Basically, He said, "Lindsey, get this straight. If you can't love this person, you can't truly love me. I require you to love me by loving others."

And, be assured, this won't be the last time that I need to ask for God's help in loving difficult people. I'm sure that I'll have to beg for His intervention every time I deal with this matter. It's another opportunity for submitting my will to His control.

As I was closing my time with the Lord, I was reminded of a prayer that I prayed all summer long, "God, humble me. Take away my pride. Remind me constantly of my need for you."

I'd say He's doing that. :)


one of nettie's girls said...

Some of the hardest commands for us are the ones that are so simple to understand. We struggle more with the things we can plainly see that He wants from us more than the obscure "what's His will for my life" questions. You are in good company. We all need His strength daily to love some people. And, I imagine, there are some people out there asking for His help to love me!

podso said...

I had a similar situation and I did what my dad had taught me, I actively prayed for that person a LOT--every time I thought of her. Prayed all about her life, heart, family, etc. When we were in the same place I'd pray even harder. And I learned to look for/focus on some good things about her. Gradually I watched a miracle take place. Now we enjoy each other and it only could be God that did it. My son had a similar person in his life and I told him my experience. It has been wonderful to see what has happened in that relationship too through intentional prayer.

Leslie said...

Thanks for this reminder! And I love what you said about marriage and purification...such an important (and often neglected) aspect of these lifelong relationships we are in!

mckenziegordon said...

I have a family member who your description fits PERFECTLY! It's so hard to forgive over and over and keep loving no matter what. Still working on it!

Erin said...

Got a lot out of both of your recent posts on peace and loving difficult people. Thanks for writing.

Anonymous said...

as podso said in above post...pray for that person.

The Skaggs said...

I went through this exact same thing in 2009! Praise God for Jamy too, because he called me out on it as well. And Praise God for his patience with me. Love your honesty. Praying for you - because it is hard!

Julie-CA said...

I'd say He's doing that also. =) How encouraging isn't it feel the help from the Holy Spirit strengthening inside us when we read the Word. We are so blessed to have His active, living Word available at the tip of our finger tips.
If you work with this person, try this - bring her/him a cup of coffee one day or better yet, ask them what their favorite drink is and bring that one day out of the blue "just because." Or, try out a new healthy recipe for some cookies or something and bring some for them to sample and enjoy. Look for areas they have done well in something or something that looks nice on them and make it a point to verbalize you notice to them. Of course you know, these acts of kindess are fruitless if not driven by a heart that is committed to showing Godly love towards this person. BUT. Now that you feel convicted by what Brian said and encouraged by what the Word said, now is the perfect time to act OUT the work in progress the Lord is doing IN you.
Shine away Lindsey! =)

Jeanne said...

Lindsey--I so needed this reminder today. I'm headed to I John as soon as I finish this note. Thank you for sharing your walk & blessings!

Painting 4 Him said...

Lindsey, It is funny you wrote this today, because I have been struggling with this in a similar way. I am working through a Beth Moore study of which todays lesson was on agape love. Agape is a divine capacity to love. Only God is capable of agape. It is more a response than a feeling. Agape is expressed through me when I surrender to the empowerment and temperament of the Holy Spirit.

"If we allow God to exercise agape through us, no matter how it appears, no matter what happens--whether the work of agape is in us as the giver, in others as the receivers, or both--it will never be in vain. If God is calling upon you to love a very difficult person with agape, rejoice that your obedience will never be in vain! Agape is always effective!"

Lastly, 1 John 3:20 ...For God is greater than our hearts.

I know this is all just letting you know what Beth says--but what I got from it is: If I will allow the Holy Spirit to take the place in my heart that he rightly needs to fill, as I am born again...I will be filled with agape love and therefore can in His strength love others--that to me seem too difficult to love. Also, that as long as I will act out this love it will not be done in vain. Even if I think I can't do it--God is bigger than me, and he will do it through me.

Hallelujah-truly I needed to hear this today. I hope it brings encouragement to you. Again, you always spur me on in my walk. You are a blessing, sister friend.

Rebecca (Craving Simplicity) said...

This is really something that I've been struggling with too. This is a great post!!