How To Get Past Hurt & Deal With Difficult People

In high school, I was bullied. She threw gum in my hair and graffitied mean words all over where my name was on the cast list for the spring musical. Fat Slob, Gross, Ugly. I carried those words with me for a long time. Years and years later, I still deal with bullies, adult bullies, that is. I'm not sure which one is worse. I've found out that people I love have said some really hurtful things behind my back. I've also been attacked for my faith in a very cruel way. But you know what? I'm getting better at taking the hits. Not because it doesn't sting, but because I know that the only opinion that matters is the Lord's.

So whether you've been hurt by someone else or you just have a hard time being around that certain co-worker...scoot a little closer. I have some been-there-overcome-that advice.

Here's what I think the big problem is: we think that because we're Christian it automatically means that we have to like everyone and have warm fuzzies all the time. That's not actually what God has asked of us.

Yes, we are called to LOVE everyone, always. But let me explain deeper. In Luke 6:32-33, Jesus said...

"Love your enemies. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them." (Luke 6:32- 33)

The love that Jesus is talking about is Agape love - the kind of love that God has for us. This kind of love is not based on feelings, it's based on Truth. It's a decision. The point of Agape love isn't to change how we feel about someone (although loving someone in action often changes our feelings), but it does require action. Agape love says "I love you in spite of..."Basically, you don't have to like someone to love them.

It might help to keep a little sticky note in your planner or journal that says, "love is a decision, not a feeling." 1st Corinthians is a great place to look for those "actions" that we can take to love those that we don't like:

Patience, Kindness, Not Jealous, Good Manners, Unselfish, Endurance

When you challenge yourself to love someone even if you don't like them, you'll see how the Lord molds your heart and changes it in ways you never knew it could change. The people that bug you won't seem to bug you like before. And someday you might realize, "wow, I'm free from that awful dread of seeing her / thinking about her, and I actually kind of look forward to it!"

And finally m'dear, pray for her (or him). It's tough to dislike anyone who you pray for!

"But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." Matthew 5:44