Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hard Things

Last year I came across a book entitled, Do Hard Things. I didn't read it, but I liked the title.

What a simple idea.

At the time I was preparing to do something I had dreaded for years: pack up my family and leave my motherland for the frozen tundra. Such an endeavor definitely seemed worthy of "hard things" status. In fact, maybe it was one of the hardest things anyone had ever done. I was pretty sure I should have been awarded some kind of "hard things" medal of honor.

I've realized recently, though, that it's not the grand, momentous things in life that are truly hard. Sure, it's difficult to move to a faraway land or, I imagine, to risk one's life as a missionary or to take a leap of faith in taking a new job or embarking on a new, scary endeavor.

But, you know what's harder?

Forgiving someone who's hurt you.

Humbly submitting to your spouse.

Loving unconditionally.

They're not gradiose or attention-grabbing. There's nothing sexy about the packaging of these challenges, so it's not likely that they'll garner you any applause or pats on the back. At least not by men.

Nevertheless, God honors them and counts them among the greatest acts to which a person can attain.

I'm struggling with a couple of these things right now. There's a person in my life whom I've felt hurt by and am pretty angry at, and I would like to just wallow in my self-pity, wrap up in my hurt feelings, and snuggle up to my righteous indignation. I am right, after all.

Unfortunately, God doesn't seem to care.

"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Mat. 5:44)

Um, sorry, God, that's a verse I like to apply to big things like Muslim/Christian relations. Or maybe even to how Christians are discriminated against by the government . . . but not to my friend who's hurt me.

And, so my conversation with God goes something like this:

"Pray for her."
"But, she hurt me and hasn't apologized.
"Reach out to her."
"But, SHE is wrong and I am right."
"But, I tell you . . . love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:2-28)
"I don't want to. It's hard."

Do hard things. Why doesn't anyone ever mention that it's harder to pray for someone who's hurt you than it is to give an extra tithe or to spend a summer doing mission work?

Love one another. Now that's hard.


Lenae said...

Thanks so much for your recent blog comment! We've been on vacation for the last few weeks, so I've been drifting in and out of Blogland too :D

This was such a discerning post. I'm dealing with a lot of forgiveness issues lately and agree with you: loving the people right in front of us the way God asks us to is sometimes the most difficult task. I pray that both you and I will be able to rely on Him to help us forgive those who have hurt us.

Barbara said...

When Jesus requires that we love our enemies, HE gives us the love HE demands from us. We are channels of HIS love, not reservoirs. A reservoir can spring a leak, and all the love could be drained away. A channel provides the method for continual flow from the ocean of God's love.