Her words shot out rapid fire and every bullet hit its aim. She told me exactly what she thought of me, and when she ran out of ammo she zeroed in on my husband and kids. Thankfully, they weren’t there to witness the incident, the carnage.
I felt sweaty and panicked but didn’t cry. I kept a strong composure and steady gaze ’til the exchange was finished. Then, I hightailed it out of there and retreated into my house, into my bathroom where the faucets opened and the tears freely flowed.
I wish I could say I soon turned the page and got over it, but I did not. For days I ruminated over her words, replaying the entire scenario in my head. Except in my replays, I didn’t remain frozen. I told her off and I told her off good. I watched her swallow some of her own medicine and it felt good.
Until one day mid-rehash, God’s voice broke threw my own,
“Child, you need to bless her. Ask Me to bless her.”
I shook my head and replied,
“Father, I don’t feel like it. I don’t want to. That’s just too hard!”
“That’s exactly why you must do it. You live your faith when you do the hard thing, and right now your hard thing is to bless her.”
I need to bless someone who threw up rotten words and opinions all over me? Then I remembered reading in Luke not long ago:
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28 ESV, emphasis mine).
Knowing Jesus commands me to bless her gives me an extra kick-in-the-pants to do it, but it doesn’t make it any easier. How do I bless someone when my heart isn’t in it? True to His character, our God never prompts us to do something he doesn’t prepare us for. In my heart, I felt Him slowly but surely tell me what I needed to do. Sometimes all I can do to obey is put one foot in front of the other and just walk it out in faith.
- Put down the stones. Sometimes, we bless most by not doing something. Choose not to slander character or criticize harshly through negative, biting comments (no matter how justified you think they are). Instead of throwing stones, remember that person is also made in God’s image and we all fall short (Genesis 1:27, Romans 3:23 NIV).
- Pick up the prayers. On three different occasions, Jesus commands us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27, 6:35 NIV). The repetition tells me it’s an important thing to remember. And what better way to love someone than to pray for them? Feelings trick us into thinking we are justified to do something when we aren’t.We can pray genuine words and mean them even if we aren’t feeling it. When hurt or angry feelings threaten to overwhelm, we can pray something as simple as, “Dear Lord, watch over and guide Ms. X. Bless her today and always.”
- Reflect His light. Another translation of the Greek word for blessed (makarios) is happy. How is your demeanor around difficult people? Do you look happy or do you look like you would rather eat nails than experience their presence? John 1:4 states, “In Him [Christ] was life, and that life was the light of men.” Does your life reflect His light around everyone? Does your personality shine? Even if you are reserved or introverted, you can smile, ask kind questions, and be cheerful. I’m not talking about being fake. Reflecting His light means we live what we believe. In showing love we do not wear any kind of hostility. Show through your countenance and actions that the person is forgiven regardless of how you feel.
It’s easy to love the lovely, but Jesus asks us to love the unlovely, too. It may be hard for you and me to do this, but it isn’t hard for God. Pray for His words, His actions, and His guidance. He can turn what you “need” to do into what you “want” to do.
Now, when thoughts of my own Ms. X wander close, I no longer dream up ways of defending myself or telling her off. I pray a blessing for her and then move on.
At the end of the day, I cling to the fact that my identity is secure in Jesus Christ. Yours is, too! His opinion is the one that matters and counts most. As the song “In Christ Alone” reminds:
No power of hell,
No scheme of man,
Could ever pluck me
from His hand.
‘Til He returns,
Or calls me home,
Here in the power of
Christ, I stand.¹
¹Getty, Keith and Townend, Stuart. “In Christ Alone.” New Irish Hymns. Kingsway, 2001.
Do you also have a desire to connect the hearts of women with the amazing, grace-filled heart of God? These lovely gals sure do, and their heart’s desire is to encourage other women to do the same. Every summer in North Carolina, women with a passion for leading other women closer to the heart of God gather at the She Speaks conference to learn how to use their gifts for His glory, to serve Him where He leads. Ann Voskamp, the closing keynote speaker at this year’s She Speaks conference, is offering a scholarship to one brave, sweet soul who feels led to tip toe out of her comfort zone, take a risk and attend. On the very tippiest of tip toes, that’s what I’m doing today.