One passage that I think we, as Christians, hear often is Do to others as you would have them do to you. I've struggled with this verse alot over the past few years. I try to be a good person..to be a good mom, wife, friend, etc. I try to help people whenever they as for help. But how can you continue be nice to a person who constantly attacks you? Who says things about not only you, but your children? Who openly admits to being jealous of things you have...and constantly complains to my spouse about how exhausted they are. We are exhausted too....I mean, Chris works 60 hours a week plus an hour commute each day, and we have four little kids, I stay home because of Breanna's medical problems because it is simply not a wise decision to put her in daycare. We struggle just like everyone else. And are constantly telling this person this, even though really, it is none of their business.
It seems like everytime I let things go, and try to move on, something else happens. Something else gets said. And it is truly the only time in my life where I have struggled to just walk away and not say anything back. I guess I just really don't understand how someone can sit there and claim they are so happy with their life, themself, etc. but constantly try and bring grief to my life...and then play the scenario off like they are the 'VICTIM'. Maybe I will never understand it. But I know I am tired of letting it eat at me all the time. I'm tired of giving this person my time and energy trying to understand why they can't just spend the time and energy they spend focusing on mine and my husband's life, on their own life.
I have been praying for some time that God will give me the strength to come at this situation from a different angle. That no matter what this person says to or about me, that I can turn the other cheek, so to speak. I came across some scripture this morning that spoke to me about what I have been dealing with. It's Luke 6:27-31, and the devotional reading is exactly what I needed to read.
(27) But I tell you who hear me: 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 strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes you cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. (30) Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs you to, do not demand it back. (31) Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Here's the devotional reading:
Considering the increasing violence around us, what our society needs is some good, heavy-duty shock absorbers. If only we could wrap everybody in felt pads before they went out for the day! Unfortunately.....we are enormously complicated creatures. We feel injuries not only in our bodies but also in our emotions. And sometimes deep wounds in our inner selves fester for years, causing us to reach out and hurt anyone who comes near us. One painful blow to our psyche can create the motive for innumerable blows outward in the years to come.
The Old Testament law was very explicit: an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Harsh as it seems to us now, this principle was a vast improvement. Before then, a person's life might have been demanded for that eye or tooth, or two eyes might have been put out in exchange for the loss of one. Again and again our human nature wants to 'teach people a lesson' or make things worse for them than they made it for us. We see revenge as a way of getting back, of making ourselves whole again. But it never works.
The solution Jesus offers is radical. There is no question of revenge or even bare restitution. He suggests simply that we become the shock absorbers of the world.
To receive a blow and to refuse to pass it on is an act that requires extraordinary generosity. For most people, it does not come naturally. We are too hard and resistant to be able to absorb the effect of an injury before we pass it on to a neighbor. We must become softer, gentler, more loving people, receiving a blow but unable by the fabric of our lives to transmit the force of it.
Love and forgiveness are the special vocation of the Christian, and when we exercise them we are able to find healing for our own wounds and offer balm for the healing of others.
Please pray for me that I can become a better shock absorber. That I won't let this negativity continue to bring me down. That I can see that this person is lashing out because of their own struggles, and that I will have the strength to turn to God and pray for this persons troubled heart, instead of wanting to attack them back.