When someone you truly care about throws a tantrum and walks out on you in front of a group of friends without any explanation, you’ll immediately wonder why but you’ll try to understand. Perhaps, there’s a story behind the action that is far more important than the feeling of being disrespected.
When the same person suddenly messages you three hours before an event, telling you that she can’t make it anymore because she is suddenly too busy — in spite knowing that it was a much prepared-for event by just a fourth of the organizers, and not knowing that you are carrying three packs of food and a weight of a to-do list while walking under the rain just to make it to the event — you’ll boil a bit but still you’ll try to lay down the situation to her, encouraging her to be fair by showing-up.
When the same person bails out on your agreed appointments over and over again, you’ll wonder why but you’ll try to be patient. Perhaps, God is teaching me to depend on Him and God is teaching her lessons of integrity. Nonetheless, I kept on praying.
There are days when she would get it – the corrections, lessons, and call to obedience – and both of us would witness breakthroughs out of it. But there are days when the same person would decide to isolate herself and vomit words of self-pity. You’ll exhale the annoyance away and pray to God for wisdom, but you’ll be led to still love the same person with more patience.
Unfortunately, I missed out on “Love is patient”, “Love is not easily angered”, “Love does not keep records of wrong” and “Love always perseveres” some weeks ago.
I called her on the phone and confronted her in exasperation. I ticked-off.
Then after the call, I prayed: “Lord, I can no longer deal with this person. I’m done caring!!! My patience extended, and my understanding emptied. I gave my all and I can no longer give. Her decisions bring so much heartache and burden. The way she drowns in self-pity frustrates me! I’ll pray for her, sure. But dear God, I’m done!!!”
I was so pissed-off I could no longer focus on the office deliverables in front of me. I called my discipler and told her what was happening and I expressed how I feel about it.
Then, I asked her: “Ate, what should I do?”
Her Spirit-filled straight-to-the-point answer calmed my nerves. She said, “Jesus has always been sensitive to the needs of people.” She then reminded me of the time when Jesus fed thousands of people as detailed in Matthew 14:14-21.
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to Him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
Even though the disciples wanted to send the crowds away because it was already getting late and they were already tired, Jesus insisted that the crowds needed to stay and that they needed something to eat. Jesus, in spite the incredible number of people and the seemingly limited food, had compassion on them.
The easy way out of the situation was to send the crowds away, but Jesus did not choose the easy way out; He chose the loving way in.
Then my ate Vivian said, “She does not need someone to tell her what she should or should not do. She needs someone to have compassion on her. What is her basic need, Trudy?”
“If you still do not know the answer, try putting yourself in her shoe”, she added.
When our call ended, the realization of Jesus’ character dawned on me. I was not loving like Jesus. I wanted to just get out the situation. My right-to-self threw compassion out of the way.
I belonged to the crowds who deserved to just go away.
I learnt that when I can no longer love a difficult person, I should remember how Jesus would still love that person. I also realized that that difficult person could be or could have been me, yet Jesus would still and will always show compassion towards me. Who am I to be pissed-off towards another God-created being when my Lord and Savior would still keep me with love in spite of me?
By God’s grace and guidance, I went out of my comfort zone and thought of the things that my friend basically needed. Even though she gave an emotional ultimatum that she will no longer meet up with me, she showed up (praise the Lord!) in our set meeting time with tears in her eyes.
I hugged her and she said, “Ate, I’m sorry.”
I told her, “We are a family. We learn together and move on.”
Then I handed to her a box full of some of the things she may need. I taped a post-it note on the box: “Read and meditate on Matthew 6, and write about what God says there.” The next day, she sent a heartfelt message with her realization on the passage of Matthew 6.
If it wasn’t for Jesus and His example, I would have not done that. Also, praise God for the wisdom of my discipler! It was not me who loved her but Christ. It was not me who realized love but Love Himself. All praise to Him!