Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! - Psalm 133:1
God is intentional in our lives. His purpose for us is that our lives will glorify Him - through salvation and then through the refinement process of sanctification. Everything He allows into our lives is for that purpose. Trials point us to Him, and so do those challenging people in our lives. Difficult people bubble up to the surface those places in our hearts that still need to be refined.
As a point of clarification, I’m not referring to abusive people, I’m referring to those annoying people in your life that you’d rather not engage. Perhaps it’s a coworker or a boss, a family member or a neighbor - someone you avoid most of the time because they irritate you and you struggle to keep peace with them. Perhaps it’s someone who has gossiped about you, or called you out on a certain behavior or action that you think is unfair. God has a purpose for these people in your life.
The reality is we are blind to many of our own sin issues. We simply cannot see what other people see in us - we only hear and know what’s inside our heads. Those people that are challenging to us often rub up against the parts of our hearts that are not yet refined by Him. These are the parts that are easily offended or wounded by others or the parts of our hearts that have expectations for how others should treat us. What are those things that set you off about another person? Dig down beneath that answer, and you’ll find a place God is trying to refine your heart. Better yet - ask that difficult person to identify your character flaw or what sin issue you struggle with, and they’ll point you right to the place God is trying to work on.
Personally, I am challenged in a few relationships in my life to always strive for peace. It requires consistently pulling back and reminding myself of the bigger picture, it requires consistent sacrifice and putting the needs of the other before my own, it requires consistent humility and and abundance of mercy and grace, but I have seen His hand at work where I have sown peace despite the pressure toward conflict, where I have listened to the criticisms about my character rather than holding my hand up in challenge - even when I don’t believe them to be true. When we strive to make peace, we are doing the work of the Kingdom, and He is glorified.
If we are open to listening to what God wants for our hearts, we begin to understand He allows interactions with difficult people for a purpose. The next time you are challenged by a difficult person, rather than discounting what they say or think about you, pause and take those criticisms to heart - they point us to where we need to change. Dig down beneath those criticisms and look for the cause. We often deny what they believe because we don’t want to own the sin, but we are so often blind to our own sin issues. Difficult people lift the veil of we’re willing to look at the ugly in our hearts. Though this process is painful, the redemption work God has for us in the surrender is freeing - chains will fall, my friends.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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