“Why did you buy so much as if I had no clothes at all?” I was taken aback by her words. I didn’t expect this as I handed the gifts over to her. I swallowed the hurts with difficulty. I wanted to cry out my heart, but it took guts to answer her softly, “But sister I bought this since you were mentioning that you were planning to buy clothes… thought that you might like it. Didn’t you like the texture or color?”
“No, nothing of that sort, just that why did you bother to buy so many? You are also becoming a spendthrift like your husband.” She softened a little.
She knew that I bought her stuff out of the little money I had saved.
This was not the first time. My sister-in- law has been hurting me with her comments from the day she stepped into my home. She joined our family to settle in the same city that we lived. And right from day one, she has been commander-in-chief of the family. I tolerated that because she was elder to me and was in the place of my late mother-in–law. Joint family was a common custom in our country (India).
I always looked at her as my own sister and was friendly towards her. But for every good done to her (which she would expect me to do) she gave back negative comments. I was careful to do only those things that she liked, yet she didn’t tolerate those good deeds, for it hurt her ego.
My patience came to an end. Every time I forgave her and tried to be good to her, she gave back bad. I didn’t expect her to be thankful, but I did expect her not to, at least return words of jealousy and bitterness. I didn’t like the manipulations she did with me every time she wanted a favor from me. But still I bent to her, because she was my husband’s sister and I did not wish to be rude to her. I started disliking her strongly.
I was very troubled in life. The words of insult and harshness pained me a lot.
I wanted to get out from the situation of facing her everyday. My prayer life detoriated. And once when I was sharing my hurts to God, God showed me that I harbored bitterness and anger towards her that was causing a block in my relationship with God.
I told God that the distance with Him was a result of getting repaid with bad for the good I did. That’s when the Lord corrected me from 1 Peter 4:12- 19, where the summary of it concluded it all… (v.19) “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
“Continue to do good”… strongly emphasized in my heart.
I asked God to forgive me and also help me forgive her. I was able to do so slowly as I yielded myself time and again to God’s will.
The time I had with her was hard. Yet God used that to shape my character as more tolerating, as more sensitive being. And I realized that nothing that God allows is out of casual. It was definitely required to refine me more like Him.
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