Sunday 23rd September

Sunday 23 September

‘I take pleasure…in the insults…I suffer for Christ.’ 2 Corinthians 12:10 NLT

Friends in disguise

When you’re insulted, you can retaliate with a stinging comeback or see it as a growth opportunity. David said, ‘It is good…that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Your statutes’ (Psalm 119:71 NKJV). Psychologist Dr Brenda Shoshanna says: ‘The person who insults us is a teacher…come to help us reduce our ego, develop patience and compassion, practise unconditional forgiveness, and teach us about life and relationships. If you don’t perceive an insult as an insult, but as a teaching or a gift, it loses its power to hurt you. On a practical level, if you’re insulted, say nothing. Give yourself time. Much harm is created by lashing back, escalating the situation, and saying things you may not mean. Recognise it’s your ego – that false sense of pride acting up – and don’t go along with it.’ Paul reached a place where he actually took ‘pleasure in…insults’. Most of us aren’t quite there yet, but with time and practice it can happen. Speaking of Judas, 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.’

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