A close friend of mine is struggling mightily with the notion of fairness right now as he endures a barrage of attacks from a troubled bully. His plea for prayer last night got me thinking that all of us face this challenge.
That’s why I include this two-part question in my year-end spiritual assessment: 1) How did I handle personal attacks in the past year; and 2) How should I deal with them in the next 12 months.
These questions are important because if we’re not careful, we will fall into a self-loathing trap that gets us thinking: “Maybe they are right.” And once that flow of doubt starts, it won’t be long before the enemy fills our mind with a GUILT narrative built on cancerous lies slithering out of the darkness to paint us as a “bad, worthless person.”
When we finally receive a respite from the stream of negativity, we will surely hear God whisper his command to pray for our enemies.
C’mon! You have got to be kidding me! I MUST defend myself!
Of course that is a tempting thought, but it is the WRONG choice. Instead, here’s my two-part answer to the progression of doubt:
SEARCH for any part of the situation that is my responsibility.
AVOID “catastrophizing” the situation and decide whether I will listen to the truth or lies. The situation may be real, but we do NOT need to make it relevant.
Of course it hurts! But we need to pray for the perpetrators anyway.
Only the love of God and his grace can vanquish an enemy that has taken residence in an apartment situated in that sacred space between our ears.
I ask God to teach me how to endure persecution patiently. How to pray for mercy on the perpetrators. And how to let my pain remind me of all he went through for me.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
How did you handle personal attacks in the past year? How will you deal with them in the next 12 months?
“Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers.” Matthew 5:11