Loving those hardest to love

Capture

A while back there was someone who had really hurt me. Not just once, but over and over again it seemed. I was angry and hurt at the same time. Not a good combination :]

One day I was working and I heard this song on the radio, and started laughing a little inside as I heard the lyrics

 

I pray your brakes go out runnin’ down a hill
I pray a flowerpot falls from a window sill and knocks you in the head like I’d like to
I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls
I pray you’re flyin’ high when your engine stalls
I pray all your dreams never come true
Just know whereever you are honey, I pray for you
It was then I had I started to see this ugliness in my heart. The song is a little extreme but in reality, I didn’t want to see good in this persons life and I wanted to see failure. I didn’t want to see them succeed or find happiness. I really began to struggle internally. I became bitter. My heart was completely hardened – not only towards this person, but began seeing this hardness come out towards everyone. Bitterness taking over my heart.
I was at a conference where someone spoke about forgiveness. I felt burdened by this and knew I was only hurting myself with this lingering bitterness in my heart. But the thought of truly forgiving was hard. It sounded good and easy to say, but deep down I knew I was struggling with it actually playing out in this situation. I felt I had tried to forgive but I just kept getting hurt, or I would realize I was still bitter when something else would happen. I shared my struggle with the person who was speaking at the conference. He asked me if Ive ever heard the term “frenemy”. He began telling me about a man he knows who started praying for people who have hurt him, or people he struggled with loving. He adopted the term “Frenemy” for these people.
praying for your “Frenemy”
Before even praying for his family he would pray for his “frenemies”. He began to share stories of how praying for people when it was hard to forgive them, began to change his heart. It didn’t always change the situation or change the other person but it began to change him. He was at peace. His heart was softened.
That day he challenged me to begin praying for this person who I was struggling so much to forgive. To pray for the success of this person, for good, for my heart towards this person. It all sounded good and truly wanted to pray , but the ugliness in my heart kept creeping in and the lyrics of that awful song kept coming in my head..
I still remember the first time I prayed for the success of this person, it was like pulling teeth. I struggled to even let the words come out of my mouth. Tears streaming down my face as I prayed that this person would become a strong leader and faithful follower of the Lord, for goodness to flow out of this persons life.
I made a commitment to myself to pray for my “frenemies” every day. I began to do so, and it truly is astonishing how from the first time I did this, to even a month down the road how much softer my heart was and how I began to truly change on the inside. Somewhere in those prayers my heart shifted from gut wrenching, pulling teeth to even say the words, to truly finding joy in praying for the success of those who have hurt me. I wanted this person to succeed.
Col.3:13      Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you

 

Romans 12:18    If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Lord, help me!

Fast forward a few years – the struggle creeps back in a different form. This person didn’t hurt me but there was tension. I just didn’t really like the person. They pushed my buttons, and irritated me.

Over the course of 6 months God really began to tug at my heart that I needed to love this person, even when it was hard. Even when it hurt. I remember watching a clip of Beth Moore and something she said just hit me in the face.

“You (God) put people in our lives

that bring out the WORST in us,

so that you can bring out the BEST in us”

It was like she was talking directly to ME ! Funny how God speaks to us even when were not expecting it. I began my journey of praying for this person, and for God to truly change my heart. Friends, let me tell you…there was a lot of work to be done. My heart was ugly. This song by Rush of Fools began to speak to me..

Just like the oceans
You crash on me
Just like a tidal wave
You ruin me
Just like a hurricane
You devastate everything that needs
To change

You are the only thing that’s
Beautiful in me
Beautiful in me
You are the only thing that’s
Beautiful in me
Beautiful in me

Bring out the ugly inside of me

Months after hearing Beth Moore’s message it was still lingering in my head. You put people in our lives who bring out the worst in us SO THAT you can bring out the best in us. I wanted to believe that. I wanted to let this change me and bring out the best in me but all it was doing was bringing out the WORST. I would cry out to God asking how do I change? I asked for patience and wisdom. I asked Him to show me how to love when I didn’t want to. I asked him to bring out the ugly inside of me. Asked Him to help me forgive, and to grow a loving heart towards this person.

After I began praying these things God answered. He answered in a way that I didn’t really want him to, but God truly knows best. I was put in a situation where I was going to be around this person ALOT. Not just around them, but had to interact with them and engage with them consistently. I remember thinking are you kidding me??  But again…. what kept ringing in my head was God puts people in my life who bring out the worst in me so that He can bring out the best in me .

OK God, I get it! You are using this person in my life right now to change me.

John 15:2 started to be my prayer. Prune me, take away the branches in me that are not bearing fruit. Prune the ones that are, so that I may bear more fruit.

 

 

Compassion

Have you ever met someone who seems like they don’t have an ugly bone in their body. They never have anything bad to say and are just super sweet people, who I’ve been guilty of calling “too nice“?  I remember thinking and telling myself “that’s just not my personality”. I knew I would never be like that. I’m beginning to think I was just looking for justification for how I knew I felt towards people sometimes. I do not at all have this down, nor do I view myself as a person that doesn’t have mean thoughts from time to time. I do. But I do believe over the last year for sure, but even longer (like 6 years) God has began to change me in this. Praying for those that are hard to love has changed my heart, softened it, and I have grown to have much more compassion on people.   Now, I’m not saying that people wont ever bug you or push your buttons, or hurt you. They will. I’m also not saying that you will like everyone and get along with everyone 100% of the time – But it is no excuse for you to be rude to them or to not show forgiveness and compassion towards them.

Its easy to say that its just better for you to not be around this person, or you just clash or whatever it is… but I would encourage you , friend. Pray for them. Check your heart.  Are you looking for justification for how you feel ? Do what is right, not easy. Pray when its hardest to pray. Love when its hardest to love. Forgive people in your life, even when they are not sorry for their actions. Holding onto anger only hurts yourself, not them.

How true...!:

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Loving those hardest to love

  1. Honestly, this is beautiful. Your story is truly inspiring. And that song is so funny and sad at the same time.

    Love costs but it frees…

    May your ink never run dry.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s