Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Staying Long Enough to Find the Treasure

How do you deal with difficult people?  Our pastor tells of when he was young and had a job where he had to work next to a really difficult guy named "Steve".  "Steve" was pushy, loud and rude.  He tried everything to get along with him but nothing worked.  So he quit that job and went to work somewhere else...and wouldn't you know it...there was a "Steve" there too!  Every job he took, there were "Steves" that he had to put up with.  He began to realize that maybe God was going to keep putting him in the path of "Steves" until he learned how to deal with them kindly and compassionately; until "Steves" were no longer an issue for him.

Think about precious metals, stones and other elements.  Where do we find them; hidden deep within the earth.  How does this pertain to difficult people?  What if God has hidden things of Himself, treasures, deep in our hearts?  What if we have to dig deep to see what He has instilled in us?  We can be totally oblivious to what He has placed in our hearts and the hearts of others.

Someone who has lived a difficult life or maybe been told they are no good at anything, or have never been told that someone is proud of them, they wouldn't know to dig deep to uncover the wonderful secrets God has placed in them.  Maybe we need to find ways to uncover the treasure in people around us.  I have been in situations where someone was acting so ugly that I could almost see that their souls were black.  I wanted to flee as fast as I could and have nothing to do with them.  But I knew that with the love of God in me, I could push through, stick around and find out why they were such a difficult person.  It could start with something as simple as leaving an unsigned note of encouragement, a pat on the back as I walk by, an invitation to lunch.  With "Steves", most people never make the effort to get past the facade, to push deeper and find out that God has put wonderful, precious treasures in them.

God's love has no labels.  It does not respond to people based on their actions.  His love is based on the One doing the loving, not on the one being loved!  Our love should be the same way.  If we have to confront or correct someone difficult, it should be through this kind of love or it will just be seen as another rejection.  If we set love on people then correction comes through a filter of acceptance.  Imagine walking around seeking the best or good in others!

Do you have someone difficult in your life who just keeps showing up?  Maybe God wants you to learn how to deal with them.  Maybe you won't see people like that as difficult after you learn to look for the preciousness and value in them.  I'm not saying it's easy or fun, and wouldn't we want someone to take the time and make the effort to find out what's hidden in our hearts?  I promise, not only can it change their heart, but it can also change yours!   

From His Lap,

28 comments:

  1. I have begun to think that the uglier a person acts on the outside, the deep their pain is on the inside. It's up to us to have our "Jesus glasses" on when we see them. Maybe we would have a part in softening their hearts! What do you say?

    -wwh

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  2. Erin! You make such an important observation here. I am so blessed to read it! There are Steves in every job or group I have every been in and not being intimidated by them but learning to love them with God's love and acceptance is usually the lesson of that particular circumstance. Thanks for your insight and wisdom. I love the nuggets you have for all of us...and YOU! I hope and pray we meet someday soon!

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  3. Oh Wendi, I love that!!!!! "the uglier a person acts on the outside, the deep their pain is on the inside. It's up to us to have our "Jesus glasses" on when we see them"!! Thanks for sharing.
    Blessings to you, sister!
    ~Erin

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  4. Libby,
    I love you so much! Thank you for your kind words! You are a blessing to me!
    ~Erin

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  5. Oh I would have to agree that there are Steves everywhere! I certainly have known more than my share of them. So much so that I just stay out of everyone's way these days. Can't get blindsided by Steve that way unless I invite them into my world, which I don't so...It's funny reading this is quite similar to my post on M&M today. ~Hugs my sweet friend! M

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  6. Mumsy,
    You might try to stay out of their way, but I know you are a lover!!!! I will have to ck out your post from today.
    Love you!
    ~Erin

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  7. You know there are 'Steves' everywhere but I found out that sometimes their behavior is a call for help. Almost always there's something going on in their life that they can't deal with or don't know how to deal with it.
    Have a great week,
    Barbara
    Español para Niños (Spanish for Kids)

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  8. Thanks for stopping by, Barbara! You are absolutelty right...most times it's a cry for help!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  9. Beautiful, Erin.
    Susan

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  10. Thank you for stopping by, Susan!
    ~Erin

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  11. So true, loving like that will change us! I learned a long time ago that a wounded animal will bite someone that tries to help it and so will a human. We have to take the necessary precautions and help anyway. Even Steve's have a story to tell and everyone wants to be known.

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  12. Beck,
    That is so true. Everyone does have a story and sometimes we don't make the time to listen. Thanks for adding that to the discussion.
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  13. Today I had the gift of a good time with someone who is often a "Steve" for me. I realized that now that she has more stuff going for her, she is more relaxed and less interested in working out everyone else's life. It can be really HARD to love obnoxious people, but I know God calls us to do so. Thanks for the encouragement, and thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.

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  14. I met my Steve 17 years ago. I thought he was the one I needed to take under my wing, look out for and love so much I'd heal all the hurt and anger he had inside him.

    Funny thing was I was a Steve too. Taking care of him stopped my selfish, world-owes-me-everything attitude and now we've both come out into the world in better shape than we could ever have hoped for.

    That's a question we should all ask ourselves sometimes. We all know a steve but does it take one to know one?!

    Hugs and love to you, Erin as always. Lx

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  15. Aw, Alexandra,
    Thanks for hanging in there with your "Steve"! I'm glad you dug a little deeper and found some jewels in her heart!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  16. Oh, Lorraine!
    Good point!! Maybe sometimes it does take one to know one!! You stuck with your "Steve" for a long time and both found treasures in each other's hearts! You go, girl!
    Love to you!
    ~Erin

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  17. This is so true, there will be "Steves" wherever you go! Ironically, my husband's name is Steven... Hahah. But he's nice. =)

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  18. Thanks for stopping by, Camilleta! That's funny, I'm sure your hubby is just Steve...not a "Steve"!!!

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  19. It is difficult to deal with a Steve personality. Creating healthy boundaries is a good idea if it affects your daily function. Loving that person will also melt away the caustic effect he or she has in your life. Jesus had to deal with them on a daily basis and He will give us the strength to manage them.

    Erin, you blog so beautifully and glad to have connected with you via VB!

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  20. Miriam,
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Don't you just love voiceBoks?! You make a good point here about setting boundaries with "Steves". That is very important so that you don't become abused!
    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Erin

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  21. I recently read a devotional about sandpaper people and velvet people. I think God is trying to tell me something since your post is along the same lines!!! Thanks so much for stopping by Jeremiah 29:11 and posting my button!!! I'm so appreciative of that!!! I'm your latest follower via networked blogs!!! HOPE you have a great rest of the week!!!

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  22. Deb,
    I'm so honored that you stopped by for a visit. I love your blog! Your story of sandpaper people and velvet people remindes me of a story when I was a child about warm fuzzies and cold pricklies!!
    Thanks for following!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  23. Excellent post Erin. So many people are hurt, angry, broken and they display the shards, slivers and splinters like protective thorns, but there is a beautiful flower inside that's waiting to be watered with love so it can blossom.

    Thank you for sharing this post.
    TonyR

    www.wellwateredwoman.com

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  24. Tony,
    I love the way you put that! I'm going to be looking past the shards, slivers and splinters from now on! Excellent. Thanks so much for stopping by.
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  25. Thank you for the welcome on vB. I am following you. This post really made me think this morning. My hubbie and I are dealing with our "steve" and learning how to cope and "hopefully" get away from him. I think the biggest lesson for us is learning how to prevent our dealings with "steve" from affecting our daily lives together.
    Looking forward to reading more posts :)
    Ali

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  26. Thanks so much for stopping by, Ali. Don't you just love voiceBoks! I hope that you and your hubby are able to avoid your "steve" and if not, that you can figure out how to dig some treasure out of him!!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  27. Erin,
    This is a very powerful message. Though I don't consider myself to be very religious person (more spiritual, and I like to find God in different places, so I celebrate God in many different houses of worship), I have found that as I grow as a person, a woman, a mother, I have begun to listen to God, and recognize the things He is trying to teach me. I've had hardships, as you read in my latest post about my son Joshua. Just days after discovering that my son would have a lifetime struggle to keeping a beating heart... there HAD to be a reason. God must have a plan. God brought me to this to learn from it. Which truly gave me some peace in a horrible situation. I never got upset with God about Josh's heart. I knew that God was trying to tell me something. All I had to do was *listen*. I listened, I had quiet moments, asking God to lead me, not just to be there for Josh in the best way I could and advocate for him, but also asking Him to guide me to this lesson that I needed to learn.
    I think "Steves" come in all shapes & forms. Sometimes, a difficult coworker, sometimes a loss or hardship. I truly believe that God leads us to these things to learn, to understand His plan as best we can. To learn faith in Him in a new, more profound way, and to dig deep, and find what we are being lead to do. I also believe that if we "ignore" the "Steves" of life, we will always be met with a new version of Steve, because God is speaking to us. Whether it be to learn, to help, to find the good in a difficult situation or a simple understanding.
    Thank you for a great post.
    Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog.
    Amy

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  28. Amy,
    You are so, so right! I'm so glad that you found purpose and meaning in the hard times you went through with Josh! Because, like you said, we will keep meeting a new version of "Steve" until we learn what God wants us to learn.
    I'm so honored that you stopped by my blog. You are a blessing!
    ~Erin

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Thank you for giving us a little nugget of truth from your heart!

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