Living above and beyond life’s circumstances
“Bless those who persecute you. Do not curse them, but ask God in prayer to bless them.” Romans 12:14
We all have some people in our lives who require an extra endowment of grace. They annoy us, make us angry, frustrate us, test us and bring out the worst in us.
But the fact is, they sometimes can also help us grow spiritually. God asks us to show mercy to all people – even those who cause us the most trouble and discomfort.
In the last few days, we have considered five steps for dealing with these types of people in our lives:
- Look beyond their behavior, look for the source of their words and deeds.
- Totally reject the feeling of being offended.
- Don’t respond back with harsh words, give them a chance by giving them their space.
- Firmly refuse to gossip about them, even though it tickled your tongue.
- Don’t fall for their game, don’t get in the ring with them.
And here’s the sixth and final step: Always stay on top of the situation. Make a choice to keep God as the focus on your life, not the surrounding circumstances. You have to learn to respond first to God, instead of the people and situations.
Do the right thing, do what your heavenly Father is expecting you, His child, to do; no matter what the terrible people do to you. If they insult you, treat them with kindness. If they get on your nerves or get too slow for your pace, treat them with patience. You cannot control what other people think of you. You can’t control what others say about you. You can’t control what other people do to you. But you have 100% control over how you respond to them.
Staying above the circumstances, not below them, gives you a very clear and broad perspective on reality. When you are above situations and circumstances, you can see the pain behind that person’s misbehavior. When you place yourself above the situation, you can rise above the irritation and conflict and choose to live in peace. You may be totally within your rights to retaliate and get even, but the Bible says, “Repay no evil for evil. Do not respond with insults when people insult you.” (1 Peter 3:9)
The classic chapter on being above circumstances is Romans 12:14 says this: “Bless those who persecute you. Do not curse them, but ask God in prayer to bless them.” This verse is a practical definition of mercy. And you can tell me, but I don’t have anyone who persecutes me. So let’s change the word “persecute” to “irritate”. Ask the Lord to bless the people who irritate you.
Instead of asking God to judge them, ask Him to bless them. This is what true love looks like. True love is not just loving the one who loves you. That’s very easy. True love is loving people who is hard to love. True love is being patient with the people in your life who irritate and despair you.
God gives us the power to love even those whom we find difficult to love because He is in us… “To them, God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” … And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.” Col. 1:27
Think about this:
Can you think of an example in your life – or in the life of someone you know – where you (or the person you know) could rise above the conflict or circumstance in their life? How did it end?
How have you been inspired by someone else’s love to love an unlovable person?
What can you do to take a stand on a hard situation in your life?