Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Does anyone else wrestle with how to respond to those who are your "enemies"?
I have so much to be grateful for and I am always striving to focus on all the good things God has poured into my life. But that doesn't mean everything goes my way or everyone is easy to get along with. We have enemies. I'm not sure who your enemies are. Maybe it's a co-worker who seems to have it out for you, a family member who should support you but tears you down, or even a spouse that you feel you are embattled against on a daily basis. I don't go looking for enemies, but I do have a couple. These people can bring pain into my life. So how do I deal with them in a healthy way and not waste precious emotional energy?
1. I remember that I can't control my enemies. I can influence them and I can choose the amount of influence I allow them to have on me. I can set up good boundaries. I remind myself that I can control my own thoughts and actions. Ultimately I cannot change the difficult people in my life, but I can change the way I think about them and respond to them.
2. I try to believe the best about the difficult people in my life and imagine what difficult things they must be going through to treat me the way they do. I do not excuse their actions, but I try to see them through a lens of compassion.
3. I pray for those who harm me and ask God to change their hearts the same way He is changing mine. In some cases this is a very difficult attitude for me to have towards people who have hurt me, but God gives me the strength to look past the hurt and ask for good things for my enemies.
4. I look for ways to do something good or kind for those difficult people in my life. I'm not doing these things to manipulate others to do what I want. I'm not doing them in hopes that so-and-so will be nicer to me. I'm doing them just so that I can feel good about doing the right thing.
Let's not allow the difficult people in our lives to discourage us and get us off track! Let's press on towards our goals without distraction!