Monday, May 23, 2011

Loving Hard People

I am feeling sad and frustrated today by all of the hurt in this world. It is only 1pm and I have already had 4 lengthy discussions about HARD things people are going through.

Unfortunately, these things haven't been the big unpredictable things like tornadoes or cancer...these situations have largely involved the hurt that people seem to inflict on one another: adultery, addiction, deceit and frankly, plain ole mean spiritedness.

Twice I have found myself being asked for advice where I have had to stop myself from responding because what I wanted to offer was based out of my flesh and a protective love for the offended party--rather than out of the Truth that Scripture often calls us to: taking the high road, bearing, believing, hoping and loving.

I don't believe God calls us to walk into abusive situations--but I do think there are countless places where we are encouraged to do the hard thing, by loving hard people. (And many days I don't like that answer.) I think it is a cop out to just decide to walk away from every life that is messy and mired in sin. In each situation we have to pray God will show us our role. HE is the Savior, but sometimes we are called to be involved as a vessel.

As I was praying about this--confessing my wishes that life just weren't so DIFFICULT--I was reminded of a passage in Ephesians:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12 KJV

It is so hard to remember in daily life that our battle is NOT against the sinners, ultimately, it is against the sin that permeates this world and has entered their hearts.

I am typing this post as my own accountability. I think it is important in every battle to know your enemy. I pray for the self control (and, frankly, the courage) to remember: Hurting people hurt people.

Romans 12 is one of my very favorite passages in Scripture. It has a lot to say on this subject:

2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

God's word on the subject is challenging, so counter culture, but good nonetheless.


Arlene @At Home with the Grimms said...

totally understand....I have a friend who has been living in a less than ideal situation for years. It is so hard to pray for the person who is causing her pain, but I know that only change in that persons soul will result in happiness for my friend. Hang in there Jmom!

Christine said...

I so needed to read this today. Thanks for posting it. It's a great reminder. I've got two situations like this in my of them is deep, lifelong and in which I have virtually no influence. The other is, relatively speaking, inconsequential, very momentary and a situation where I have all the power in the world to change the outcome. The temptation with both of them is to just chuck over the offending parties and move on without them. Life would be so much easier and less messy. But as you point out, that really isn't what I'm called to do. I have to pray for more discernment on how to deal with these situations. Thanks for the reminder!