I was catching up on the life of a friend over coffee one day when he commented about how his life could be so much easier if only a certain co-worker would quit. This co-worker caused him problems every day on the job and my friend wished that he would not have to deal with it anymore. Another friend shared with me her desire to change her phone number and even change apartments so that she wouldn’t have to deal with a certain neighbour. A third friend even went so far as to wish a certain person was no longer living, just so she wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore.
I can relate. There was a time in my life when I thought my life would be easier if only a certain person didn’t exist. I have since repented of this, and now follow the Bible’s directive to pray for my enemies.
But I wondered where these thoughts come from. Is our society such that we think to remove a person removes the problems? This reminded me of a couple of Disney movies. In “The Little Mermaid” the sea witch, Ursula is killed by the prince and saves the mermaid’s kingdom, and the prince and Ariel live happily ever after. In “Tarzan” the evil human that comes to capture the gorillas is killed in a violent battle by Tarzan. Tarzan and Jane are then able to live happily ever after.
So my question is: are we conditioned to think that we will only be happy when we are rid of those in our life who cause us grief and pain?
Once I came to see the error in my thinking and wishing that life would be better when/if this individual was out of my life, I was then able to realistically deal with the reality that they were not going anywhere. So instead of living in a lie, I’ve embraced the truth and come to terms with it. But this was not in my own strength; I needed God and the work of the Holy Spirit to penetrate my being. Only through God’s help could I come to look upon this person with different eyes. Only through the power of the Holy Sprit was I able to begin to pray for this individual. Today, I still pray for this person. I pray that this individual finds favour with me. I pray that this person gets into a right relationship with God. I pray that this person is saved.
Living in reality and dealing with my situation with God’s help is a much better place to be.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’ (Matthew 5:43-44 NIV).
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