We all have difficult people in our lives. As you sit here reading that opening sentence, your mind instantly popped a name up. I know mine did as I typed it out. How as Christians are we to deal with difficult people?
God's Word gives us example after example of forgiveness and love. As imperfect sinful humans, we can not forgive our enemies. And often loving them is out of the question. However, if we lean on God for help that love is not so hard to come by.
You might be thinking, "But you don't know what this person did to me. God understands my reasons." The Bible tells us that God is love. It goes on to say that if we can not love others then we have no relationship with God. Therefore, we must learn to love others as we heal from our experiences. The difficulty of forgiveness can be complicated if the difficult person in your life is a family member or daily co-worker. It can often be more difficult to let go of pain if you see that person every single day. Here again, we ask for God's help. We seek Jesus to aid in the task of learning to forgive.
Don't get upset if it takes a long time. It does not mean you as a Christian have failed. Allow yourself a time of sorrow and grief for the situation. Grab a tissue box and cry into a tub of ice cream for an evening, if you need to. Or go to a nearby park and just sit under a tree for an hour thinking and journaling. Find a safe relaxing activity to express yourself. That is a healthy thing to do. But then you must get up, dust off your clothes and move forward in life. Holding a grudge hurts you more then the person whose being difficult. Aside from creating a spiritual mess, holding grudges causes a host of physical problems in terms of your health. God's Word tells us our bodies are a temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell inside. We are to care for our bodies in a proper fashion. So let go of the anger and heal. Do not allow someone else's misbehavior to create stress-related disease in your life.
Q. :Does this mean I have to be a doormat just because I am a Christian?
There are truly unhealthy relationships. If you are in a relationship which can not be healed, please contact an authority figure for help. There are a number of ministries and organizations which specialize in helping men, women and children escape dangerous relationships.
If you are forced to escape a relationship, you still as part of the healing process need to forgive. But that is for the spiritual and physical benefit of yourself and other family members. You should seek professional counseling in this situation.
(c)Susan Morton. October 2007.
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