Maybe it's someone you work with or a next door neighbor. Maybe it's a family member or a classmate. As much as you want to, you can't get away from him. What do you do?
|Photo Credit: Recycle This (Creative Commons)|
I had some neighbors who were like this. They were inconsiderate, loud, filthy. Beer cans littered the driveway. The grass was never mowed. I wished they would move.
Then God pierced my heart.
What my neighbors needed was love, not more judgment. I began to pray for them.
I have to confess that many times my prayers were (and still are) self-righteous. Something like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11, "God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector." I'm not proud of it, but I have been that Pharisee.
Fortunately God was there to remind me, "This is not what I meant when I said 'Love your neighbor.'" Then I was convicted again, and I had to start over.
Finally I surrendered and simply prayed, "God, you know that I don't like my neighbor, but may I see him how You see him." You know what happened?
He said, "Yes."
He turned my judgment and self-righteousness into compassion.
A Heart For People
Whoever that person is for you, this is my advice: pray for him or her. But be real about it. Don't pretend you like him. Just ask God to transform your heart to be like His. Do it consistently over time, and if you are genuine I bet you God will grant your wish.
If you still struggle with it, welcome to the team.
There were days when all the praying I had done seemed for naught. I wanted to curse my neighbor, not love him.
Maybe this passage will help you like it helps me:
As [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it. Luke 19:41
Jesus wept over the very people who were going to put Him to death. He knew the suffering He was about to face but was concerned instead about His murderers' well-being. When I think about that, it makes me want to weep myself.
God has a heart for people. If we claim Him as our Father then we better have one too.
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