I had a long conversation today with a good friend. I confessed to him that I’ve been struggling lately with some pretty negative emotions toward a person that is focused on shining a negative light on myself and my family related to business. The things he has shared with others about us are slanderous and have been harmful to our reputation. As a result, I’ve been finding myself “disliking” him with a fair amount of my thought life lately. I always thought I had some experience despising someone but it turns out I’ve never despised anyone until now.
I share this because I’ve comitted to being transparent in this environment and this is the thing that has gripped me lately. I haven’t talked much about it until today and have kept most of it to myself. Because of this bottling of my feelings, I got fairly worked up as I shared with my friend. I was embarrased…not by the fact that I was crying like a baby, but by the fact that I have spent as much energy as I have “disliking” someone. There were several things stirring in me that caused me to loose composure today but in one way or another they revolved around this person I’ve been hating.
Anyhow, today I learned a valuable lesson about what it looks like to love well when our friends are hurting.
Here are a few of the take aways from my conversation with my friend today that really blessed me:
* He heard me all the way out with two ears and one mouth, just as they were proportioned to him in the first place.
* When I was finished unloading, he let it breath for a moment. He gave us both a second to consider the theropy that takes place in times of weakness.
* He told me a couple stories from his own life that enabled me to realize I wasn’t alone in feeling this way.
* He reminded me that as believers, we are called to a different reaction in the face of our enemy. From his memory he began sharing a passage with me from Romans 12 in the Bible… Here it is…
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 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,”[d] says the Lord. 20On 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.”[e]
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I’ve read this passage a hundred times but today it ministered to me for real. Like much of what Jesus expects of us, this too is counter-intuitive, it goes against our instinct. The idea of loving those that oppose us is foreign and frankly…silly…in our own strength. The reminder of the day for me is that MY OWN STRENGTH SUCKS! In my own strength I find myself wasting time and energy thinking about the intentions and misinterpretations of others when all the while, I could be thanking God for all that he is, and all that he’s done, and all that he is doing on my behalf. Today marks the day that I set aside thoughts of ill will and re-remember that my purpose is found in the God of the universe, and his profound love for me!
To my friend:
Thank you for loving well today my brother…you called on His word to awaken me and He moved in me through it!
Here are a couple quotes from smarter guys than me that reek of wisdom in light of Jesus….
“Revenge is a passion unbecoming of the children of God”
“A man who studies revenge keeps his own wounds green. Men must not turn into bees and kill themselves in stinging others.” Francis Bacon
I always like to use pictures in my posts and I think this one appropriately speaks to how good God is to me…He has blessed me with Elijah, and the White Sox!…and lots of other stuff of coarse:)
PS: I’ve been making egg rolls lately…lots of them, and I’ve been taking pictures and making notes…stay tuned:)