I have had a few conversations initiated by other people over the past couple days around the topic of anger. I have felt pretty stuck, because I fear speaking my mind with them, so I just listen and take in their opinions and dialogue with them in my mind, in my thoughts.
You see, these people I have spoken with all seem to avoid getting really angry with other people, which is a good thing I think, but instead they wish bad things upon these other people.
One phrased it like this, “What they said to me hurt, and I think they said it simply because they didn’t understand, they didn’t know how their words were effecting me and others because they had never been in my situation. But you know what? As soon as they turned around, I hoped that their day would come, when they would be hurt just as much as they hurt me. And I really hope that I will be there to see it, not to be sick and twisted, but just so I can see the pain they’re in and say ‘You had it coming, now you know how you made me and so many others feel.’ I look forward to that day when they get a taste of their own medicine.”
Another expressed their feelings about someone who had wronged them in some way, by claiming that they hate them, want nothing to do with them, and if they could they would teach them a lesson they would never forget.
This is so sad. And so difficult to respond to. We find it so hard to love people, but it seems to be so easy to find even the smallest things to hate about a person. How do I teach you about the love that I have with God, and how I believe we need to pass off this same love to anyone and everyone no matter what they’ve done to us.
There are some people who have really done me wrong in one way or another, and I’m sure you all have at least one person just like this. They’ve done what seems to be the worst they could ever possibly do, and they couldn’t care less how it affected you. As far as you are concerned, they have done the unforgivable to you. We all have, or have had these people, and will continue to have these ‘enemies’ for the rest of our lives. But I believe God loves them. I believe that no matter what they do or say, nothing is going to separate God’s deep unconditional love from them. The bible teaches us this. And I also believe that we are called to express this same love for everyone. We have done just as bad things to God, and no matter what we do, He will still always love us, so why can’t we swallow our pride or pain and do the least we can do, and love those who have done us wrong. We don’t have to agree with the decisions they made, they may have hurt us and it feels like we’ll never be the same, but I promise you, if you can love them, something will lift from your shoulders, you will feel lighter, you feel a little bit closer to being at peace. And this is God’s desire. He knows you hurt, He knows the pain you feel, He knows what people have done to you, and He doesn’t expect you to become best friends with everyone, I don’t think He expects you to forgive and forget… if you can, then kudos to you… but I think if we can at least just forgive them and love them, then you’re that much closer to mending the wound completely. Please forgive those who you are angry with, and try your best to love them. It will be hard and may take a while but please do your best to put whatever they have done to you in the past, love them, and move on. It comes back around to our representation of Christ. And as followers seeking to follow as best as we can in footsteps of God, we need to think of the way we treat those around us, especially those who have hurt us, or just get on our nerves.
There is someone in my life right now who I use to not be able to care any less about. This person ticked me off every time they spoke. I was excited when they weren’t around, and disappointed when I heard they were back. I would roll my eyes, talk behind their back, and never take what they said seriously. I would brush them off, discard their comments and not give a passing moment to being kind to them. But then I came to realize that by my responding to this person in this way, I wasn’t solving the problem, if anything I was making it worse. By hating them, I wasn’t giving them the opportunity to improve, apologize, or even have a desire to change. I know every situation is different, all pains are different, but I knew that I needed to love this person. As much as I didn’t want to, as much as I didn’t think they deserved it whatsoever, as much as I didn’t believe it would change anything, I knew that God wasn’t too proud of me for hating this person, and to be honest I wasn’t too proud of myself for it either. I wanted to get along with this person, I wasn’t wanting to become best friends, I just wanted to be able to tolerate them and love them. I would then know I was at least doing my part and giving my best effort to change the way I was toward them and forgiving them for the way they treated and still were treating me. I’m not going to say that the story ends with us holding hands skipping through the meadows… in fact, I am very relieved that this is not how my story ends. Instead, this person still isn’t the nicest around me, but I talk to them with a smile, sincere care, without attitude or holding grudges and it has helped considerably. And knowing that I have acted in obedience to God, when our conversations finish and I walk away, I speak out loud to God asking him to continue to ‘please help me love this person.’ And I know that He is.