You might say, well Ang, that seems like a pretty fair list.
Until I say...but I walk away from people like this and never try to learn to love them. Jesus told us in Luke 6: 27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
I'm in the wrong with my current behavor, and God knows I know it. No, he's not standing there with an iron rod waiting to beat me. He sent the Spirit to tug at my heart. I know better. I know I have to fix it. It would be easier for me to do what I've always done and walk away, ignore it, and love even harder on those that share my faith. But that's not what Jesus said to do.
God give me your eyes to see why people frustrate me.
Today, I dropped my son off at school. When doing so, I saw this boy get out of the vehicle in front of me and as he started to walk away, he turned around and attempted to make futher contact with the vehicle that dropped him off, but the vehicle just drove away. It reminded me of the scene in the "Breakfast Club" where Ally Sheedy went to look in her parents window for some sort of attention but they just drove away. I watched the young man walk slowly towards the school, sort of limping slowly with his head down. I said to my son, "that boy looks sad." My son informed me that that was the boy he told me about the week before that caused such the scene by kicking other students and swearing at them. I said, son what do I always tell you about people like that. My son said, "that there's something in their life that isn't good." I said that's right. We are told to pray for those children.
I drove away...God had given me eyes. We are all affected by some strong hurts that have taken strongholds in our lives. Those strongholds, if left entact, make us respond to others in a way that we normally wouldn't. I thought back to some abuse I endured as a child and some of the very hurtful things that were said to me. Do you suppose those same words were spoken over the very same people that spoke it to me?
We can't change people's behavior, but we can change what we do about it. Instead of reacting and getting upset and handling it ourselves, we need to go deeper. We need to pray for those strongholds to be broken. Sometimes instead of opening our mouths and saying something, perhaps we should have a private conversation with God about the situation and then trust that he will take care of it. I'm not saying you have to stay in bad situations. Believe me, enduring abuse merits getting away. But once you are safe, don't allow bitterness and hatred to sink in. Instead, pray for those people. Something happened, some strong hold grew roots in their lives, and they need to be set free.
Be the one to help set them free, and never take credit.