On the way to work this morning, the radio DJ asked the listening audience this question: What term of endearment do you give someone with the heart of a pterodactyl?
Solomon said it like this, “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” (Prov. 21:9)
Yikes! But what if you aren’t the quarrelsome one? How do you love someone who seems to enjoy making things difficult?
First, recognize that the only one you can change is YOU. A counselor told me once that we all need to take 100% responsibility for whatever the percent of the issue is ours. No matter who is more wrong in the situation, take full responsibility for your stuff, and work on your part of the issue.
Second, train yourself to be thankful. Being thankful changes our perspective, giving us the ability to see the good that is often covered up by what we determine to be bad. Gratitude changes the focus of the situation.
Thanksgiving also changes our words. Loving a difficult or quarrelsome person can take the joy out of every situation, causing us to want to strike out in anger, sarcasm or retaliation. But read what Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:4, “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” Thanksgiving is the antidote to speech that is focused on bringing someone down.
Third, pray for the person. Prayer is a sacrifice, because we have to die to our feelings, die to our emotions, die to our desire to be right, and pray for God’s best for the person. Here is how Jesus said it: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ ” (Matt. 5:43-45a) The term enemy used here is for any hostile or opposing person, and persecute means to drive away, harass or make trouble. So pray for the one who makes you want to skip family gatherings. Pray for the one who seems to be able to spot and magnify anything missing or lacking. Pray for the one who seems to enjoy hurting others, or who just doesn’t care.
I know some people will read these things, and think that they are impossible. And they are not easy. But each of these steps begin with a change of mindset, a decision to think differently. God wants to change the way we think first (Romans 12:2), so we will look at the entire situation differently. We can have victory, and it begins in our minds.
Who specifically is God asking you to love today? Who did you think of immediately when you read the first line of this post?
Want some prayer re-enforcements on this topic? Message me and I will join you in prayer.