th-15A little respect can go a long way.

I just realized I have this unchecked, underlying hostility for one woman in our neighborhood. Without going into detail here, she thinks I took some liberty with her property that was “crossing the line.” Now, I don’t take too well to being reprimanded by a female, especially one I already don’t like. Marti and I think that even though I don’t specifically remember it, I must have been dragged into the principal’s office at some point in my early childhood and raked over the coals by a female principal, because I have a huge fear associated with this that is very inappropriate for a man of my age and responsibility. Sometimes I can be so childish.

So you can see I have a combined sense of fear and hostility towards this woman whenever I see her. Now of course my passive-aggressive nature would never let on to her about this. In person I’m as nice as can be. I’m humble, compliant and really ticked off. I’ve even gone over and above what’s expected in watching her property when she is gone (which is often) and made some repairs at my own expense, to where I think she owes me something, when she feels I’ve taken advantage of her.

My typical approach to a difficult relationship like this is avoidance.

Now does any of this sound like appropriate attitudes or behavior from a child of God? Do you think I’m going to be in a position the manifest the light of Christ to this person? Of course not. What am I going to have to do to change this?

Well first, I have to do something about my anger. If it’s over something I need to confront her with, I need to do that in a civil way. If a confrontation is not called for — if it’s only something that has occurred on my end — then I need to get over it. Talk to the Lord about it; talk to Marti about it, but don’t hold it inside. Whatever I hold inside is going to come out in vengeful ways that will ultimately hurt me — or those close to me who have to live with me — more than anybody. If I feel she has wronged me in some way, I need to forgive her. Even if the harm has been all on my side of the fence, I need to forgive her in my own heart. And finally, I need to respect her.

I can respect her as one made in the image of God and able to reflect something about His nature that no one else can. I can look for something I can admire her for. When I think about her, I can focus on actually liking her instead of disliking her. Maybe “appreciate” would be a better word. It may be asking too much to actually like her, but you never know. Once I get my own issues out of the way, I may be able to actually see this person, and if I can see her the way God sees her, I will have successfully changed my attitude toward her.

Now that I’ve actually told you about this, I have to do something about it. I’m not harboring my own private feelings anymore. I’m not keeping secrets any longer. I’m accountable to you.

Respect. She is someone important in God’s eyes. She is loved by Him. That’s huge. That makes her lovable. That love is unconditional, and that love is available to me through the Spirit which lives in me.

When I started writing this Catch, I never would have thought of this person as being lovable. But I can now. Suddenly, this person I would have avoided at all costs … I can’t wait to see, just to see what God does inside of me. It’s amazing what a little respect, and the Spirit of God, can do. A little respect can go a long way.

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6 Responses to

  1. gitta says:

    great Catch ! and yes the KEY is forgiveness. I was just discussing forgiveness with a friend.
    we have to continually give forgiveness to others all the day long…. some seemingly small offenses– and some on a huge scale. Christ has forgiven me ALL– and asks me to forgive
    others. This keeps me from mounting anger. and yes [as you stated well] basically seeing
    others through the ‘eyes of God’ & ministering when possible–so they can SEE Jesus in us–
    then the RESULTS are up to God. And as is clear in your note– we are changed ourselves
    as a result– PRAISE !! I think we are all still working on this one– with daily opportunities ….

    • shelley says:

      Well spoken Gitta! Forgiveness is daily for us all. We often do not “see ” others for whom they truly are…if they are willing to allow us in…it can be a blessing for both. John, I can identify with so many of your posts as of late…especially today’s! I am an introvert ( can easily be content in my cocoon… ugh!) and yes, passive /aggressive ( only when absolutely necessary…in the KINDEST way possible! HA) So yes, forgiveness = inner peace. If well all take a good long look, there is someone we no doubt need to forgive…

  2. Lois Taylor says:

    It is all in perception, John. How we perceive others is how we treat them. And that is difficult to change. Maybe we can do it one person at a time.

  3. John, don’t beat yourself up too badly. After all, you are only human – yes, with the Holy Spirit of God residing inside but human nonetheless.
    As many replies to your posts over the months have indicated: we’re all pretty much in the same boat to some degree and, I believe, many of us find it comforting to know that we’re not alone with our internal or external struggles.
    While we all may acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives, most (if not all) in the Catch community are experiencing a “down-to-earth” connection with each other because you and Marti are leading the charge (so to speak) in revealing and/or addressing our all-too-human flaws and sinful nature – especially those “issues” still needing to be dealt with once and for all.
    You’re also taking us along to the “light at the end of the tunnel”.

    When you wrote that you have “a huge fear…that is inappropriate for a man of my age and responsibility. Sometimes I can be so childish,” I had to chuckle because I’m right there with you, man! (I have a suspicion that as we enter into our twilight years many of us slip back into a “terrible-twos” phase or whiny adolescent stage of life.)
    When you asked if any of this sounded like “appropriate attitudes or behavior from a child of God?”, well yes and no.
    Yes – if you recognize that it’s an issue that needs to be resolved and take the necessary steps toward resolution (guided by the Spirit), thus growing up into an adult child of God.
    No – if you refuse to acknowledge those attitudes and behavior even though you know they’re fruitless and damaging (led by your ego), thus remaining just a petulant child.
    Sometimes and oftentimes we have to revisit these old borderlines from our formative years in order to break the barriers that keep us from growing completely up. If we don’t follow the Spirit’s guidance today then we’re sure to revisit this land another time.

    Now, as to the overall topic of Respect…
    Today, I ran across this remarkable story about how a woman (with her young daughter) handled some none-too-subtle disrespect aimed directly at her by women whom you’d think would be more respectable. Her actions should be an inspirational lesson to us all…

  4. Colleen says:

    Generally, I always try to find at least one good thing about a person, however, when it came to my mother I could not. The Lord taught me this: I had to ‘babysit’ her for 3 days and the 1st day was a total disaster, so I prayed and asked Him how He would treat her. That morning when I returned to her home, I washed her hair, her feet, and hands after her exercises. I then used my Mary Kay pretty hands and feet kit on her, blow dried her hair, painted her nails, and applied make up. This is a woman I have No respect for, nor even like (yeah I know my own mother, but a long story as to why I despise the woman). Yet in His eyes by having me do this shows me that He saw her different than I did. It opened my eyes, but it did not changed the way I felt about her, but allowed me to see how He felt about her. I now always consider how I have not walked in ‘their’ shoes, so can not judge how they react to life’s circumstance. I believe when you come across an undesirable person in your life, try to find some positive about them if not then pray and He will show you what His eyes see.

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