Serve Them

This year one of the words that I believe the Lord put on my heart is the word SURRENDER.

The word surrender I do have to admit sounds a little scary, because what it means is I have to give something up. What exactly does God want me to give up. Give up my control issues…..Give up my perfectionist attitude…..Give up my property….Give up my time…..Give up my rights?

What I am learning though is that when I am being surrendered to God it doesn’t mean that God is standing over me with a gun to my head telling me to do it his way or else… No instead it means that I  am willingly going to obey him because it is the right thing to do.

I am willingly going to choose Him over my own desires. I am willingly going to listen to His way instead of trying to do things my way. I am willingly going to push the temptation away in order to choose the better path for my life because I want to surrender my entire life to God.

We can go back to the story of Adam and Eve…..They had everything perfect. A paradise to live in, everything provided for them it was all right there at their fingertips. Fellowship with God everyday, however their was one thing they were told not to do and that was to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

God didn’t put that tree there to tempt them but he also didn’t want Adam and Eve to be a pair of puppets that He controlled. He wanted their complete and total surrender.

Go to Genesis 2 and reread the story.

And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden you may eat freely, But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of it you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.Genesis 2:16-17

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What God wanted for Adam and Eve, and what God wants from me is that I want to obey and be surrendered to Him. Not that I am forced but that I choose Him over everything else.

So what does this have to do with serving people or loving the unlovable?

If there is someone in your life that is really difficult to love, what is God asking you to do?

I believe that God wants me to surrender my hurt feelings…..He wants me to put my emotions on the back burner……He wants me to serve the other person……He wants me to love the unlovable.

I can’t answer for you and your situation but I do know that for me God wants me to surrender my feelings over to Him and take time to serve the person that is hurting me.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but  be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

Being surrendered to God means I am going to be a living sacrifice to Him.

Excuse me what does that mean?

That means I am going to die of myself in order to live the surrendered life for God.

When I am forgotten and neglected instead of stinging in the oversight I am happy that God still loves me.

That is being surrendered and dying to myself

When the good I try to do is payed back with evil words and my wishes are ignored and my advice is forgotten, and I refuse to let anger rise within me and instead be patient and lovingly silent….

That is being surrendered and dying to myself

When I see disorder and lack of peace I choose to respond by cleaning up and answering softly….

That is being surrendered and dying to myself

When my feelings are put on the back burner and I see the need to love the unlovable….

That is being surrendered and dying to myself

When the person who is taunting, hurting, criticizing, back stabbing, gossiping, making me feel worthless….I find my worth in Christ….I put my feelings aside…..I take my  emotions out of it…..I surrender to Christ and Serve the other person that is dying to myself.

GOD IS

LOVE

and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

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Because of Jesus Christ, my greatest goal is to love other people the way Christ loved me. I want to love the unlovable today and everyday. I want to serve them and show Christ’s love to them. I want to be surrendered to my feelings and open myself up to God’s paradise that He has waiting for me.

Happy Valentines Day-Surrender to God and love the unlovable by serving them.

Invest in people at strategic points

I blew it again, Instead of waiting for the right time I went and tried to fix something only to cause more anger and harsh words to be said. I went in wanting to make things right but because the other person wasn’t ready to listen they struck back at me causing me to be hurt and anytime I get hurt I do one of two things… I withdraw within myself feeling horrible about who I am or I lash back at the person which makes both of us feel worse.

Have you been there? Have you tried to make things right only to cause more problems… Allowing both you and the other person crying and feeling more hurt than before?

There’s got to be something better than this. On one hand you want to fix the broken relationship but on the other hand if you say anything or do anything they just seem to get more angry.

What is a person to do?

I am learning there is a better way then to rush in to fix all the problems in the relationship. It is a process though and it starts with the Holy Spirit.

First I need to go to God

Second I need to wait on God

Third I need to follow God’s leading

When I go to go and allow Him to hear the situation and than I wait for his answer sometimes I learn that it is not the other person that needs to change but it is me. Other times I find that God is telling me to wait because this person isn’t ready to change yet so that is when I start praying for their heart to be open to God. Then when it is time God will give me the words to say if I am to say anything at all. Sometimes the person comes to the realization what they are doing wrong without me ever saying a word. Other times God leads me to talk to them and He gives me the right time and words to say so that the person doesn’t feel attacked but instead feels loved and wants to change because they realize the hurt they have caused.

The key is patience…..I need to be patient enough to strategically approach the individual when they are going to be open to hearing what I am trying to say.

When I allow Christ’s power to rest on me than I am able to become the strong individual that I need to be in order to get through the situation..When I  allow Christ’s power to rest on me I know longer have to control the situation He can….When I allow Christ’s power to rest on me I can be at rest knowing that He will make everything work out for good. It is when I feel weak and go to God that He makes me strong.

Transforming Truth:

II Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Transforming step:

Write out a prayer of the difficult situation you are going through with someone who is being unlovable. Ask God to give you the strength and wisdom to wait on Him. Ask God to show you when and How to deal with the person you are struggling with. Put this prayer up on your bathroom mirror so that you can reflect on it and pray it over every day until God directs you in how to handle the situation. It is really not about us, it is about God and with His power we can do anything.

 

Because of Sin we are all really unlovable

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All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

 

We all have sinned: I m a sinner. I am not perfect in fact here are some of the sins that I find my self struggling with.

I am  a Perfectionist- Instead of being  surrendered to God, I tend to try and control my life. I make plans, I try to control my environment by wanting things done my way instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my day I tend to schedule my day and then seek his guidance within my own plans.

I am a People pleaser more than  I should be. I care more about what other people are saying than what the Holy Spirit is saying.

I am a pity party person- I don’t do this often, but at times when I don’t get my way I put guilt trips on others to make them see things from my poor perspective. Poor me if you only understood how hard things are for me than you would agree with the way I want to do things.

I am a procrastinator- Sometimes when a job needs to be done, I will procrastinate to do it because I don’t feel comfortable doing it. Sometimes when people need me to show them love and I don’t feel like it because of their attitude then I will procrastinate treating them the way God would want me to by avoiding them.

I am a sinner……So if I can recognize my own faults and understand that I am not perfect Why am I expecting others to be. We all sin, we all make bad choices, we all fall short of the glory of God.

So in order to love the unlovable I need to realize that I too am unlovable at times. I too get cranky…. I too have high expectations….I too can be judgmental….I too can be mean and uncaring…..I too can get angry and say mean things…..I too can gossip about people…..I too can be a perfectionist…..I too can be a people pleaser…….I too can throw a pity party……I too can be a procrastinator.

Here are 5 Braver Ways to Handle a Mean Person

  1. Control my response-Be careful how I respond to the person who is being mean. Take time to reflect on how imperfect I am and be understanding that this person is not perfect either.
  2. The most effective response to meanness is compassion This person obviously is going through some kind of pain, hence the way they are acting out. So I want to respond with compassion.
  3. Take care of the pain- I want to take care of my pain and theirs as well. I may not be able to change the situation but I can remove myself from the situation. I can choose the higher road. I can wait until I am in a better place before dealing with the issue at hand .
  4. See the person for who they really are- they are probably wounded, threatened or feeling insecure. They are sinners so  am I.
  5. Fight fire with kindness

Everyone is created in God’s image

Probably one of the hardest things to pull off is loving a person who is constantly stabbing you in the back, or making snide comments about you. One way to combat this kind of behavior without becoming just like the mean person and paying back evil with evil is to remember that we are all created in God’s image.

You are irreplaceable

You are able

You are capable

You are A-1

You are influential

You are Specific

You are different

You are wondrous

Because You are Created

In the Image of God!

Genesis 1:27

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Much of what we see behind the person’s behavior is just a facade that they put on to make themselves feel better. Instead of playing into their frontage why not look at it for what it is. They feel insecure about themselves, they are trying to boost themselves up by putting you down. So let’s focus on the truth. You were not created poorly and neither were they. They are made in God’s image and they need to know that they are important to God, whether they want to believe it or not.

A real friend would want to encourage you and they would want what is best for you and rejoice in your accomplishments and feel sad when things are not going well. Let’s be a true friend even if the other person isn’t being that way to you. We can be encouraging to them and sincerely want what is best for them. We can rejoice in their accomplishments and truly feel bad when they are going through a rough patch.

We need to resist the temptation to fight back. Understanding that just like you are not perfect, neither are they. They are still one of God’s children and we should not throw them aside because Christ never through us aside.

Sometimes we may have to face the decision of if we are going to choose kindness or popularity. It may not be the popular thing to do to be kind to the bully. But it is the right thing to do.

You don’t have to put yourself in a negative situation where you are going to be hurt over and over again. You can set boundaries for yourself. However as you make boundaries, make sure you are not isolating the other person making them feel as if they are a nobody, because we are all made in Christ’s image. If being around a negative person is bringing you down, than surround yourself with positive people. However when you have to be around this other person try and remember. God created them just like He created you. You are not perfect and neither are they.

Returning Anger with Kindess

May you become and expert at being a gentle person while in the face of anger.  May you know how to practice self-control and learn how to get rid of all bitterness. May you know how to get rid of rage and anger. May you refuse to brawl, but instead embrace your faith. May you become tenacious in your kindness, and tender and compassionate towards others. Stay forgiving as Christ forgave you. Have a great day and pray for a heart of kindness as you love the unloving.

FOR EVERY MINUTE YOU REMAIN ANGRY, YOU GIVE UP SIXTY SECONDS OF PEACE. RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Search for the good in others

4 REASONS WHY I SHOULD FIND GOOD IN OTHERS

  1. It makes me feel better about myself
  2. It connects me with the other person at least for the moment and maybe for a lifetime
  3. It encourages the other person
  4. It makes the world a better place at least 1 person at a time

4 Ways to Find Good In Others

  1. Smile and be friendly – When I put a smile on my face it helps me feel better about myself….When I feel better about myself I am able to feel better about the other person….when I feel better about the other person I become more friendly.
  2. Volunteer to spend time with this person-If I am willing to go out of my way to do something with this individual maybe they and I can build a better connection. Maybe in my reaching out to do something with them it could soften their heart a little about who I am and the way I am. When  I spend time with the other person I can look for things that I appreciate about them.
  3. Stop and Help Them- While taking time to help the person with some task I can find more about this person and maybe begin to appreciate the things that they do that is positive.
  4. Lend my ear- sometimes all the other person needs is someone to listen to them. While I am listening I can learn about why this person feels the way they do and I can learn more about who they are without judging them.

Build a Connection

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Just wanted to say that I am working on this skill of building connection with other people, as I have not perfected this skill in any way, shape or form. Here is some things that are working for me.

Being authentic and showing the other person the way I am, is what I love to do most of all. I hate being fake. In fact when I try to be fake, I feel awkward and insecure. So I have found that just being myself is the easiest way to make a connection with someone who is difficult to be around.

The second thing I try to do is find something meaningful that we both have in common. If we can focus on that area it makes our conversation a little easier, because we are both interested in that certain thing.

As we walk into this Valentine season, if you are looking to love the unlovable, then I highly recommend trying these two things.

Ultimately the best way to connect with others is to not be judgmental of them, to accept yourself as you are and accept the other person as they are.

Prayer PromptAsk God to help you be authentic and find things in common with other people.

 

 

 

Treat them they way you want them to treat you

Consider your conduct

Deal with this decision

evaluate your emotions

Handle your hormones

Life is full of rules and sometimes rules are hard to follow!

I have been thinking about this lately, we always have rules that we live by so why not make the rules what Christ says.

He teaches us to Treat others the way we want to be treated….

Do I want people to hold a grudge against me?

Do I want people to yell at me?

Do I want people to give me the silent treatment?

Do I want people to gossip about me?

If I don’t want this action done to me than I shouldn’t be doing it to other person. It doesn’t matter what they have done to me. I need to be the bigger person and treat them the way I want to be treated. This translates like this.

They hold a grudge against me – I show forgiveness to them

They yell at me – I speak softly to them

They give me the silent treatment- I respect their silence when the opportunity presents itself I will try to reach out to them and speak to them with love.

They gossip about me- I pray for them.

Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD. La. 3:40

A large part of me thinks my dignity is more important than the other person’s actions….I need to trust that God knows what He is saying when He tells me that I need to treat others the way I want to be treated.

I hate to say this but I often think that I can handle the situation better than God thinks…. After all it is normal to get angry when people are hurting me or hurting the  people I love. Yet God wants me to treat them with the opposite of what I am feeling and that means I must love them unconditionally.

My natural tendency to return anger with anger, and nastiness with nastiness, but this only brings me into a broken relationship with no way out.

There is a way out though and that way is Christ….

Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and their is no one to help. Psalm 22:11

This was the psalmist cry to God for help. Next time I am facing an unlovable person I want to cry this prayer out to God. He is near to me and He will help me deal with this person. He will give me the ability to treat this person the way I would want to be treated.

Trouble is always near. So is the devil; he prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

God’s love never wavers

God treats people kindly.

God treats people with love

God is understanding

God is appreciative

God is devoted

God cares

God protects

God advocates for us

God’s love never wavers

Will we treat others the way God treats us?

Even when we were broken He rescued us

Even when we were sick He saved us

Even when we were distressed He never abandoned us

I want to treat others the way God treats me. I want to treat others the way I so desperately want to be treated. I want to love the unlovable.

THE LORD IS FOR ME, SO I WILL HAVE NO FEAR WHAT CAN MERE PEOPLE DO TO ME? PSALM 118:6 (NLT)

Imparting God’s Love and Grace

Most people are familiar with the Bible teaching” Do onto others as you would do onto you.” Or maybe you have heard the saying,  “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.” This is all fine and dandy but sometimes it is so hard to do theses things. Why is it so hard? Why do some people sabotage any effort you may have to show them that you love and accept them just the way they are?

Let me set the scene for you. You enter the room the person doesn’t approach you. So you go up to them and greet them warmly with a smile. They give you an obligatory nod, hug or a look. You continue into the evening and try to talk with everyone, but this person just gives you dirty looks and disapproves of anything you may say. Adding negative remarks to make you look foolish or insignificant. This person goes on to  give lavish attention to everyone else that is around. Giving them presents and acting as if they care so much about them. However to you or one of your other love ones they just seem to feel annoyed, and bothered that you exist.

The greatest thing you can do for this person is to impart God’s love and grace onto them. You may have to start very small. For instance maybe before you can impart this amazing love onto them you have to accept this amazing love for yourself.

Before you can impart this love you need to really know that God loves you. Before you meet with this person again take time to bask in God’s love for you. Remind yourself of how loved you are from God.

As a man thinks in his heart so is He. Proverbs 23:7

When we know in our heart that we are loved by God then we will start to feel loved even when others may not show love to us.

What is your response to knowing that God loved you enough that He sent His son to this world to die for you? When I take time to think about that I am just blown away by God’s graciousness and goodness to me.

God’s love is so amazing!

1 John 4:16 says, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

1 John 4:18 says, “ There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Romans 8:37 says, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

When we rely on the love of God then we can know that without a shadow of a doubt that we are loved by Him. We have nothing to fear, instead we can have the faith to believe that we can conqueror this difficult relationship by continuing to always do the right thing. Even if this love in not reciprocated we will be alright because we are loved by God.

 

Looking at people through God’s eyes

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Luke 15:20 “So he got up and went to his father.But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

Being around someone who is unlovable is extremely hard. It can be agonizing when the person you are trying to be kind to is nothing but rude, self-centered and full of themselves.

Yet Christ shows us another kind of love. A love that has compassion and a love that is willing to go the extra mile for someone. A love that is willing to forgive.

Jesus shared a story with his disciples of a man who had two sons. The younger son begged his father for his part of the estate. So the father willingly gave his son everything he asked for.

Unfortunately the younger son squander his money foolishly and found himself destitute and eating with pigs. He decided that he should go back to his father and become his father’s servant.

As he was heading back home to face his punishment, his father came running out and had such compassion on him, he threw his arms around him and kissed him.

The father even threw a party for his lost son who had returned home.

You may say “Yeah , well it is easy to forgive someone when they are seeking forgiveness. But how about when the person isn’t seeking forgiveness and continues to treat me and my family badly?”

There is another story in the Bible that we can contemplate. It is a story of something that actually happened.

It was on a Roman Cross that Jesus, who never sinned, was crucified for our sins. Jesus did no wrong and yet on that horrible day before his crucifixion, Jesus was repeatedly mocked, spat upon and flogged.

He was beaten so severely that He was hardly recognizable.  He was mistreated and stripped of everything He had. He was led away like a sheep to be slaughtered

While on the cross people hurled their insults at him. They mocked him, taunted him and laughed at him because in their minds if he was truly the Son of God he could end all this suffering, but obviously  he couldn’t be the Son of God because He was too weak to stop them.

Jesus certainly had the power to come off that cross but instead he used His power to stay. Which was even a greater feat. He also said this: “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

Yes, He looked into the eyes of his mockers and torturers and loved them, because He looked at them with the eyes of God.

Do you understand that the one who has been mistreated the worst, was the most forgiving? The one who suffered far greater than anyone should ever have to was loving and understanding.

Whatever the person is doing to you that is unlovable is it possible for you to look at them the same way Christ looks at them?

Prayer: Holy Father I am astounded by your unconditional love for me.A love so deep that even when you were hurting the most you still looked upon us with love. This love was the love that was willing to send Jesus your own son to the cross in my place. Because of your grace and goodness I am now released from my sin. Help me to love those around me the way you loved me. That even while we were still sinners you were willing to die. Help me to see the unlovable the way you do. Open my eyes to see your children- all of them- the way you see them. May my life reveal to those around me your love. Amen

On the cross, Jesus displayed his unconditional love to us. How can you display God’s love to the person or people who are being unlovable to you?