Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dealing with Difficult Disciples

Notice my title does not mention dealing with difficult people. I am specifically referring in this post how to deal with difficult disciples--you know, those who call themselves followers of Christ.

I have decided getting along with non-believers is much easier at times than getting along with Christians. I've found myself here recently absolutely amazed at the behavior of some fellow-Christians God has providentially placed in my life. I use the word providence because I know the Lord has a purpose for me and you crossing paths with every single person we encounter in life. We don't get to choose those people!

I have attempted to avoid one person I have been having difficulty with, thinking that was the best method to keep the peace. Well, that didn't work. Then I thought, "I'm not going to let this person talk to me this way, I'm going to start retailiating and putting this person in their place!" Well, that only created more hostility. I found myself being very angry, judgmental, and completely consumed about their sinful behavior.

I really wanted this person to change, while all along God was asking me to change!

In a conversation with my friend, Lori, (who is not a difficult disciple!), she challenged me to stop trying to control the other person's behavior, and instead, to take control of my behavior toward this difficult disciple. Then Lori wisely lead me to the word of God:

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:1-2
Ouch. I read this and knew immediately what my response should be with this difficult disciple. The truth is, sin is contagious. While I was ranting about this person's sinful behavior, I became sinful myself. I was pointing out the speck in their eye, while not recognizing the log in my own eye!
I confessed this to the Lord, released this person, and got busy restoring this difficult disciple gently. Does this mean we are best friends? No. But it does mean I can serve this person, pray for this person, write a note of encouragement, listen to this person, seek to understand this person. But the greatest way I can restore this person is to love them, which is the true mark of a disciple of Christ. The law of Christ mentioned in verse 2 above is: Love thy neighbor.
Do you have a difficult disciple in your life? Maybe it is your husband, your mother, a co-worker, a roomate, or an in-law. I encourage you to meditate on this passage and then apply it to your difficult situation. I trust the Lord will honor your obedience.
Many months ago I saw a prayer posted in a friend's office. I didn't understand it at the time I read it, but oh boy, do I now! It read the following,
"Lord, grant me the compassion to love, rather than to tolerate."
God has not called us to tolerance, but He has called us to love. One requires the supernatural Spirit of God, one does not. This is now my prayer too.


Amber said...

That quote - not sure if you are referring to seeing it in my office, but I did keep it posted to remind me daily of that truth. I heard it actually prayed from Ronnie - the former BB that you met at the funeral (I don't think it was original, but that he heard it somewhere too). I have always loved that quote! I am encouraged by what you said. I pray that the relationship continues to get better each day!

Jarvis Noelle said...

Hey Lynzee--I would like to e-mail you with some questions I have. Can you e-mail me when you get a chance?

Lyn-z said...

thanks, amber...keep ya posted!

hobobaggins said...

hi we don't know one another but i worked with delario and have tried to find him for sometime now. im horrible with names and had actually forgot his name. i just got reunited with someone we worked with together at stage and she told me his last name....i smiled and laughed. i used to pick with him about being kin to michael bolton. so i googled his name hoping to find him on myspace or facebook by the way my name is jeremy coleman and i pray he remembers me. i would love to hear from him. tell him to email me if he can. take care and god bless....