It’s often a bad idea to work for the church you attend. But that’s what I did for 13 years. Without giving details about numerous negative experiences, I’ll just say that I had a naive way of handling disagreeable, rude, pushy people. I always took what I thought was the high road. That meant not pushing back, not striking people between the eyes with rude zingers. I would pray for the person and ask God to help me understand why they were so unlovely. For a long time this method worked for me. I was able to see beneath some stone-cold exteriors to a deep place where perhaps they had suffered or felt inferior. This enabled me to forgive and forget.
After a time, this taking the high road method of handling difficult people got the best of me. I felt angry, hurt. And isolated, because I seldom told anyone how I really felt, or even admitted it to myself.
In my state of misery, God began to teach me an important lesson – confronting people isn’t a Godless thing to do. It was either learn a better way of handling insults or end up sick because of it. One particular incident hurt me deeply. All my praying and crying and trying to understand didn’t help. I finally opened up and told my sister about this situation. She said, “You can’t just ignore that, you have to address it.” Address it? Scary thought.
“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” (I Corinthians 16:13,14)
A few days later, while I was busy at my desk, the person I needed to confront came into the church. I sent up a quick prayer for courage and told the person we needed to talk. I told them I felt what they’d done was wrong. In the end, they disagreed.
I returned to my desk with a feeling of euphoria – I had actually confronted an issue that had caused me a lot of pain. The person stubbornly refused to acknowledge their transgression. Our face-off hadn’t changed them. But it did change me. My anger and hurt dissipated, I felt re-born.
God let me take the coward’s way for a long time but eventually that stopped working for me. What I lacked was courage. No amount of spiritualizing a problem could make up for my lack of courage.
Making it Personal: Lord, my way of handling difficult situations isn’t working. Help me to learn and practice Your ways.