Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Loving Hard People

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6

Loving Hard People
What can you do if you are in the company of a constant complainer? It is very hard to be the light to someone who only wants darkness, and it is very hard to promote positivity to someone who doesn’t want to be positive. Negativity is working for them. Sometimes these hard-to-love people are part of our family, we are married to them, or we work with them, so we may not be able to just walk away and ignore them. Although it is a mistake to think we can fix people, because only God can do that, but God may have you in their life for a purpose. You may be the only positive thing in their life. That is certainly not to say that you should sacrifice yourself on the altar of trying to please someone who can never be pleased. It is to say that we should live every moment of our lives on mission for God and view every relationship we are in as an assignment from Him.

As we mentioned yesterday, if you have a child or a spouse that is constantly discontent, it is so exhausting to live in this perpetual state of tension. Living this way can cause a whole list of issues for the rest of the family such as anxiety, depression, addictions, sleep disturbances, not to mention the physical toll of a constant state of stress on your mind, body, and spirit. Complainers sometimes selfishly believe that no one is affected by their discontented attitude but them. We really have to guard ourselves and live in the spirit to not be oppressed in this situation. It is a constant state of prayer and trusting in God for strength and wisdom every day.

What Can I Do?
Realize that accepting an individual is foundational to ministry to them.  If doesn’t feel like you accept them, chances are that you are not going to be able to have an impact on their life.  Accepting a person – or loving a person – doesn’t mean you have to accept/love their behaviors or decisions.  I always think of this as loving them in Christ.  I personally translate this to mean a couple of different things:

·         I try to love them as Christ loves mewith mercy and grace.  This is the way I want to be loved by Christ and others.  Sometimes when I look on someone in judgement, I instantly see my own sins staring back at me. I consider that a gift from God – to remember how much mercy and grace He gives me and that I in turn should do the same for others.

·         I can ONLY love them with the strength of Christ.  In my humanness I cannot love like He loves us, but I can through Jesus Christ! 

These hard-to-love, never-satisfied people are like porcupines because if you get to close, you may get stuck.  We can ignore them by simply shutting them out of our life altogether, but this is not what the Lord has called us to do.  He expects us to show them love because if we won’t, then who will?  If God’s people will not be the hands and feet – and heart of Jesus, then no one will.  If we make them feel like lepers and outcasts, they will shut us out and God cannot work through us. It will only make them more bitter and discontented.

Set self aside, grow some patience and love the complainers in your life.  You don’t know what seeds you are planting or how God is touching their hearts.  He uses us to change people’s lives and we may not even be aware.  One of those hard to love people may just be one kind word away from this possibility - Can change a leper’s spots… And heal a heart of stone.

 Accept one another…Just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.   Romans 15:7

Lara Cook

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