My dad was a pastor. Every time our family moved to a new assignment, people would warn him of “the troublemakers.” You know about troublemakers—the ones who give constant grief on committees, in church, or at work. Dad would pay special attention to the cranky, irritable, griping ones. He’d search for the good things in each one and affirm each person for their strengths.
Dad would win over the “troublemakers,” and then they would do almost anything for him. Sometimes Dad would get upset with people, but he was always quick to humble himself and apologize.
When he and Mom were called to a new district, the “troublemakers” would weep over his departure. Years later, when I met some of those members, they talked fondly about my dad and how he blessed their lives.
How do you handle it when someone seems to be undermining you? Criticizing you? How do you react to angry looks, harsh words, and unchristlike actions?
You may not believe it if you’re feeling attacked right now, but prayer works. It really works! Pray like crazy! And then keep praying. I can’t say it enough.
Tell God how you feel; pour out to Him how badly it hurts. Ask Him to change your heart, to help you see that person the way He does.
One morning during my worship time, I was complaining to God about a person while attempting to read my Bible. But I couldn’t seem to concentrate. Frustrated, I gave up reading and began sharing transparently with God.
Just then I read a verse, and it sounded as if God was speaking to me, asking me to pray prayers of blessing for this person. He wanted me to praise and thank Him for them. “No way! I don’t want that individual to be blessed. I don’t want that person to look better than I do spiritually. And I am not thankful for them.”
Eventually, I grew tired of arguing with God about it and decided to pray for the person because I knew it was His desire. So I began saying prayers of blessing for the person, asking God to bless them both spiritually and emotionally. I praised and thanked God for them, even though I didn’t feel like it.
You know what happened? My hurt feelings disappeared. God filled my heart with compassion and love. Yes, it was hard to do. But then it was freeing and brought heavenly joy.
I don’t know why I drag my feet in doing what God wants me to do, when I know He is so amazing! Here’s what I’ve learned:
• Humble yourself before the Lord. Pray, “Lord, help me understand what Jesus went through for me when He was crucified. Change me, so I can ask You to forgive the one hurting me” (see Jer. 17:9).
• Thank God for taking away your hurt feelings. You may not feel like the pain is gone, but thank Him ahead of time for healing your heart. God has amazing ways to dissolve the hurt.
• Pray for ways to love them. Say encouraging things to them. Pray to see them through God’s heart. Try to see how hard or frustrating life must be for them.
• Praise and thank God that He has put thevm in your life. It really helps.
My team and I are praying for you as ministry spouses, for all the difficult situations you encounter. You know we are in a great controversy, and God desperately needs a people who are willing to die to themselves and allow Him to mold their hearts to be like His. Then we will let Jesus love others—even our enemies—through us!
“Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NKJV).