“Love one another as I have loved you.” -John 15:12
I say, “Up,” and he says, “Down.” I say, “Go,” and she says, “Stop.” Ever know folks that you’d rather avoid if you can because they contradict you all the time?
Some people are just not very nice to be around. Like maybe those in-laws who criticize everything we do. Or a parent, sibling, or child who drives us crazy turning each conversation into an argument. Or the spouse who is sarcastic and negative, and not at all like the fine prince or princess that we fell in love with years ago.
Some people are just difficult to deal with and can exhaust my energy and patience. It is in these situations that I want to scream about how unfair life is. How I feel beaten down by such drama.
Sometimes I am tempted to ask God to just zap people with a “goodness” stick, just so we can all get along. I know that seems a bit ridiculous, but wouldn’t it be great if it was just that easy?
But God is not a magician or genie who grants us wishes. God is loving and full of mercy, and always offers me a choice. My way or God’s way; I get to choose.
God’s gospel of peace tells me that as His child I am called to be salt and light in the world, and to proclaim God’s peace. Like salt, I am to heal, and like light, I am to shine God’s love into a dark world. I am called to practice the beauty of Christ-like love. It’s a love that was shaped by the ugliness of Christ’s death on a cross.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,” (John 3:16) to suffer and die for my sins. That makes it personal, and for sure my God is a personal and relational being who calls me to be in relationship. Not only with Him, but also with others. And if that’s not enough, I am commanded in John 15:12 to, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
God’s word tells me to love my enemies. That means people I perceive who may be out to get me. Certainly I am supposed to love my family, friends and co-workers, even the most difficult ones. How in the world can this be done when I often just want to throw up my hands and run in the opposite direction?
I know that I only have to look at Jesus’s example, and start by dropping to my knees in prayer. Throughout scripture Jesus demonstrates that prayer is the starting point when faced with difficult people and situations.
While hanging on the cross, Jesus prayed and asked Father God to forgive those who crucified Him. Not to mention the times that Jesus spent in prayer throughout his ministry as God’s son on Earth teaching, healing and dealing with difficult people and situations.
This biblical teaching reminds me of the importance of consistently seeking a relationship with my God, and listening to His loving counsel. So too, I am called to heed God’s guidance in navigating uncertain circumstances. In doing life alongside sometimes negative people.
When I have found myself at the end of my rope with a difficult situation or person, the only thing that I can do is call out to my loving heavenly Father. For Papa God knows exactly what my situation is, and just what I need at the moment.
Sometimes I have to humble myself to maintain self-control. Or I must grow thicker skin/armor to enable me to stand firm in order to use affirming words rather than hurtful ones to those who would lash out at me.
I am learning that sometimes it is best to just remain silent with some folks. At the same time, I keep talking to God with all my heart. It is with God’s guidance that I have learned to accept situations and people as they are. And, to also rest assured that God is in control and will provide just exactly what is needed at just the right time (God’s timing and not mine).
Difficult people require bold prayers! As Hebrews 4:16 reminds me, “So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive His mercy and to find grace to help us in our time of need.”
God’s mercy and grace is so freeing, especially when I feel as if I have messed up in dealing with a difficult person or situation. On my knees in prayer, I am reminded that God is in control, and no matter what my actions or words are, God’s will is not changed.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
In 1 Peter 5:7 it reads, “Cast all anxieties on Him for He (God) cares about you.” And in Philippians 4:6, the writer Paul says, “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
God’s word reminds me to take my worries and difficult situations to Him in prayer. I am reminded that God is in control, and I am not. I can trust God to provide wisdom and the right attitude to deal with difficult people and stressful situations. Trust and faith overcome my inadequacies when faced with adversity just as light overcomes darkness.
However, I need to be bold enough in prayer to bring ALL worries, difficult people and negative comments spoken over me to my Papa God. I need to boldly acknowledge that God is big enough, powerful enough, and so loving as to enable me to speak life and love over others, even the most exasperating people and situations.
Every single time I am faced with challenges, my faithful God is ready to help me in my time of need. I just need to boldly make my requests known, and remain confident that God will provide exactly what I need.
Gracious Loving God, thank you for the difficult people and situations that have been placed in my life to teach me what it means to depend on you and to truly love. Help me be bold in prayer by bringing all situations and people with whom I need to see major breakthroughs, in order to surrender them to you. Help me believe for you, Lord, to move and work your miracles in my life, and in the lives of others whom I encounter. Provide the daily wisdom and loving attitude that I need to deal with challenging people who still need to be loved. In the loving name of Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen.
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Marla Waldron is a beloved daughter of the Heavenly Father, and a sister, wife, mother, teacher and friend. She faithfully serves in her local church and community by serving in food and clothing banks, taking part in fundraising walks/runs and actively participating in, as well as leading, small group Bible studies for The Dented Fender Ministry. As a public school educator for 35 years she has been privileged to mentor countless beginning teachers. Currently she serves as an Intervention Specialist with Kindergarten students.
Marla is the mother of three grown children. Since her father's death, she has taken on the responsibility of caring for her multiple handicapped, 50 year old brother. It is only by the grace of God that she has been able to emerge from some pretty dark tunnels of grief and self doubt in order to step along with God; one step at a time. She has learned how to hang on tight to God's truths and for sure, never expect the ride of this life to be dull. She and her husband live in Ohio.
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