Friends in disguise
When we’re insulted, we have a few options. We can retaliate with a stinging comeback, hold a grudge for ages or see it as an opportunity to grow. It can be easy to dwell in bitterness and self-righteousness when we’re hurt. We ask ‘Why us?’ and ‘How could they do that to us?’ instead of asking ‘How can we grow from this?’ It takes a shift in our thinking and our attitude to be able to consider growth in the face of pain. Paul reached a place where he could say: ‘I take pleasure…in the insults…I suffer for Christ.’ Most of us probably aren’t quite on the same wavelength with Paul yet, but with time and practice it can happen. We too can find the good in the bad, the positive in the negative. Speaking of Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, one author writes: ‘God sometimes manipulates the actions of our enemies to make them work as friends in order to accomplish His will in our lives. He can bless you through the worst relationships, ones that are painful or negative. The time, effort, and pain we invest in them aren’t wasted because God knows how to make adversity feed destiny into your life. I can’t stop hurts from coming, or promise that everyone who sits at your table will be loyal. But the sufferings of success give us direction, build character, and in the end you find grace to re-evaluate your enemies and realise that like Judas, they are friends in disguise.’ So next time someone hurts us, instead of holding a grudge or retaliating, let’s see them as friends in disguise and take pleasure in the fact we can grow in our character through it.
Someone hurt you recently? Think back to how you responded. If it was with retaliation or bitterness, ask God to take those things away and replace them with an understanding of how you can grow.