Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Roaches and other offensive creatures

As my regular blog readers know, I love Joyce Meyer. I've been watching her series on Managing Your Emotions . Today absolutely killed me.

See, I talk about praying for my enemies. I try so hard to try to make an effort to be loving toward those who aren't loving toward me. As I've mentioned, I regularly deal with a number of people who, for lack of better description, make my life miserable. I realized how much of it is me allowing them to make my life miserable. They probably neither know nor care that I spend hours obssessing over every slight, intentional and unintentional. And even though I try to turn the other cheek, I spend a lot of time being angry at them.

So there's my favorite roach people I like to gripe about. I seriously do everything I can to be kind to them, even though they treat me like a bug under their shoe (hence the name roach people). But there's still so much anger in my heart still. On one hand, I felt justified by the idea that you can be angry, but in your anger, you shouldn't sin. Because I'm not sinning. I'm just mad.

But a couple of gems smacked me right between the eyes and I've realized just how badly I need to re-adjust my thinking and my emotions. For whatever reason, I decided to go to the Greek on Matthew 5:22. Saying "Raca" to someone? Um, that's the modern day version of all my ranting about the idiots I have to deal with and calling them idiots. But before that, Joyce talked about the verses in 2 Timothy 2:23-24. The not resentful part really got me. And as I thought about it, I realized how resentful I am.

I resent the roaches in my life, the ones I constantly rant about being such idiots, who have no kindness or show any Christian love. I puff myself up because I at least can show them kindness and offer them love. But in remaining resentful, in ranting about what idiots they are, I have negated all of it.

I am a roach.

I have spoken so much in the pain and hurt and emotion of being mistreated by roaches. I have a friend who despises the roaches, not because she's met them, but because I've ranted about the roaches for so long, and how despite everything I've tried to do, they're still roaches. And because of the offense they've given me, she's angry on my behalf. A sign of true friendship, to be sure, but a sign that I am not nearly as mature of a Christian as I'd like to think I am.

It's one thing to pray for our enemies, but as Joyce pointed out in reference to Matthew 5:44, to bless someone means not to speak ill of them, to speak well of them. Can I truly pray for someone I speak ill of? I don't speak ill of them to their faces and certainly not to anyone I think might know them. But I rant day and night about what the roaches have said and done this time. And then I say, "but Lord, bless them."

I am a two-faced roach.

When we pray for our enemies, it's not just a matter of saying, "Lord, I lift this person up to you, or Lord, fix this situation, or Lord, bless this person." No. Somewhere in there, I also need the prayer, of "Lord, clean out all the bad feelings I have towards this person, and help me keep my big fat mouth shut."

Suddenly, I've realized, it's not enough to simply pray for my enemies. It's a good first step. But there's a greater depth involved than just passing on requests that the Lord already knows. It means that I must truly let go of the offense, and replace the resentment with the Lord. Sadly, I think it also means I'm going to have to work on removing some of my favorite words from my vocabulary.

It's a good thing I love a God that's stronger than my roachiest of roachness.


Blogger MiPa said...

Thank you for this. Well after I spend some time in prayer asking God to clear out the bad feelings I have for a particular person and really confess that I am a roach, I'll thank you for this. It really hit home.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the "realness" in your comment and for clarifying what i have been doing for a long time - i needed that. it is so challenging at times to deal with such negative people, thanks again & God bless always!

5:50 PM  
Blogger Danica/Dream said...

So glad that this is helpful... it's a struggle I still face, even after the length of time it's been since I wrote this post.

11:36 AM  

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