Tuesday, October 9, 2012

31 days of love...day 9

Matthew 5:44...But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

A few years ago, a lady in our neighborhood was extremely angry with our family.  Her son was treating people badly at school and my son said something.  I was proud of my son for taking up for children who were being bullied.  I don't use that term lightly.  Her son was telling a particular boy that the world would be a better place without him.  He was doing things to other children as well.

That mom called my home and chewed me out.  She actually told me that my son needed to learn how to be a boy and toughen up.  The Holy Spirit had a hold on my tongue that day because I didn't even respond to her.  I actually just laughed as she spoke. 

I won't lie and say I didn't get angry.  I couldn't believe that a mother would condone that type of behavior and be so ugly to someone.  I soon learned that our family was not the only family to come under her wrath.  Many neighbors were being yelled at and one person had her car rammed by this woman.

The Lord showed me through a sermon I heard in the following week that people who are angry and mean have something that is causing them great pain.  No one chooses to be mean, it is a reaction to a heart issue in them.  My anger began to melt and compassion for this woman and her family filled my heart.  I began to wonder what on earth had this woman experienced? God showed me that even though she was not following His ways, He loved her. 

I wondered if she had ever been shown Jesus?  I began praying for her and her family.  My heart softened to her pain.  Funny thing, as I began praying my anger left me.  I would see her at school and in the neighborhood and she would glare at me.  I had such peace because I knew I was following Jesus.  Her stares and dirty looks didn't penetrate my heart.  They only deepened my sadness for her.  God showed my that my anger does not accomplish His righteousness. 

The thing with enemies and anger is that we want to see the other person get what they deserve.  Getting away with nastiness is not an option.  However, I am forgiven over and over for things that certainly aren't pleasing to God.  I learned that it isn't really between me and that woman.  It is between her and God.  I had to do what God asked me to do, love my enemy. 

When I see the woman now she smiles and waves at me.  I smile back, but I keep my distance.  God didn't ask me to be equally yoked with toxic people, but He did command me to love them.  Some people have said that the reason she is nice to me is because she has done so many things to so many people that she has lost track of who she has offended.  I hope that's not it.  I hope that I was able to show her a glimpse of Jesus and His love.  I pray for her to truly know her Peacemaker.

It is hard to love those who offend us and hurt us, but with God's help the impossible becomes so very possible.