What’s at Stake? :: By Phyllis Keels

Do you ever have to deal with people who are mean to you? Yeah, met too. Often they are people we already know. Even more often, they are people close to us─people we love.

We hurt one another for a lot of reasons, but I think there is one main reason: We ourselves are in pain.

A dear friend told me once that people, who are hurting inside, hurt others. It’s so true. We might not consciously realize we’re in pain and so we don’t understand that the pain will come out, one way or another. That’s usually when we hurt others.

The sad part is that the person who is hurting you has become your enemy. That’s just the way we handle aggression. But there is a way to deal with this. Well, I’ll go so far as to say that it is the way to deal with it.

Realize that this is not about you. You are getting caught in the crossfire of a relationship problem between the other person and the Lord.

I look at it this way: If I can just step aside and take myself out of the equation, most of the time, my enemy will see the Lord. I get out of the way by reminding myself that this situation is not about me.

We try to make everything about ourselves don’t we?

“They’re mean to me!”

“Why does this always happen to me?”

Even though something like this may seem to be about us, it really isn’t. This business of anger and hatred from your enemy is a problem between your enemy and God. You just happen to be the one chosen to tell them the truth: that God loves them.

You see, by being in the relationship, we have a choice. We can do what we are there to do, or not. It’s usually not easy to tell someone who is aggressive toward you that God loves, them. Many times it angers them. It causes trouble.

When we choose to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit, we’re not guaranteed that we won’t have trouble. The reverse is more often true, but that does not let us out of our obligation to do what He asks.

No, our guarantee is not “no trouble.”

Recently I heard someone say, “Well, you know we have no guarantees.” The context was that: Anything can happen to us. Later on in the day, the Lord reminded me of the following and it almost took me to my knees in gratitude: No, we don’t have a guarantee. We have a covenant.

Wow! Think about that. Guarantees are backed up by something: Money, time, and reputation. If you don’t make good your guarantee, you might lose money or a reputation, but that’s all.

A covenant is backed up by everything. It is backed up by your very life. It is more than a promise. It is a solemn, binding agreement sealed in blood. Your own blood…

God staked His reputation, His name, His nature and His Son’s life, His everything to provide the way for us to have a right relationship with Him. He fulfilled His covenant to us─the covenant that He initiated─when Jesus died on the cross in our place.

Next time people are hurtful toward you, ask the Lord to help you see them through His eyes. Ask Him to let you see the person that Jesus died for, the life that is so precious to Him that He backed up His solemn, binding vow by shedding His own blood.

Then, they may be able to hear what will heal the pain in their hearts or hear the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit saying they are loved with a covenant love, an everlasting love.

And by the way, the same is true for you, because He is a covenant-keeping God who loves you, my friend. Oh, He loves you so!