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Wednesday, March 09, 2016

A Nugget to Help You Love Difficult People

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Do we ever experience a day where our mental outlook and attitude aren’t challenged along the way? It would be so great if they were always positive resulting in our being that glowing light we desire to be for Jesus. But, unless I’m wrong, I think most of us have ongoing challenges in this area.

At church, before services and events, our sound men do a sound check. Testing, one, two three. They do this so that we don't have technical issues that become a distraction to everyone during the service or event.  For me, I have learned that I have to purposely listen to my words and attitude from time to time and put them through a sound check.   It happened to me last night. I had two people call me about a problem last night that they were exasperated over. They told me what it was and I listened to every word. They has actually told me the same thing in church on a previous occasion, and so this was a repeat. Even so, I listened to everything they said. When they were done, I gave them some good advise about what to do. But, they kept interrupting me to repeat the problem. I finally had to ask them to be quiet and listen. I noticed I said it a little to intently and immediately had to lean on the Lord to be calm and help them work through it. Difficult people can pull you into their dysfunction and spoil your attitude. And this is why you have to be aware and not let that happen.

When Renee sees something getting to me she looks at me, laughs, and says, Boy, you sure are on the cheery side of life today. That usually triggers a laugh from me with the realization that I’ve slipped in the forest. I don’t ever like my mental outlook and attitude to get to the place where others notice that it's not at its best. If it is that noticeable, then for sure, it’s negatively affecting those around me.

The one thing that keeps me on that right path and that I know is pleasing to God is something I’ve touched on before. As a young Christian, I was struggling with executing something Jesus was teaching me. I was struggling with loving those that weren’t very nice to me. I would be reading verses about love like Luke 6:27 (NLT). "But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you." 

When I would read this, I’d feel condemned because I was such a failure at it. That is until one day the Lord helped me by putting that verse in terms I could relate to and do. He said to me, Let me put it like this: no matter what anyone else does, just do what’s right. I can’t begin to tell you how that turned my entire life around. It became the governor of my mental outlook and attitude. I realized that I couldn’t change the person that was less than kind to me. I realized that it wasn’t my job. It was God’s. But what I could do was not give them back what they gave me. I could give them respect and kindness whether they deserved it or not. I could give them help and loving kindness when it was undeserved. That is exactly what Jesus did for me. And Jesus teaches us that this is how He desires us to work through these difficult situations. Romans 12:19-21. “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

When my outlook and attitude is off, its usually because of a person being inappropriate in some way. When that happens, I remember those words, No matter what anyone else does, just do what is right. It reminds me of how to be obedient to the Lord in loving those that aren’t so nice. I just have to do the right thing. Deep down I always seem to know what that is. This is how God has helped me love my enemies (or inappropriate people) and keep a right mental outlook and attitude. It really provides me with a tool of discernment in uncomfortable situations. It helps me take a higher road. Most importantly, it helps me keep the touch of God’s love present so that He can work through me in difficult situations and give His love instead of an unkind retort! 

No matter what anyone else does, just do what is right! This nugget has kept me from the path leading to the dark forest and from failing in my thoughts, attitude, and words again and again. And for that I Praise His Name forever!

John 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

In In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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