How do you pray about people who bother you?
February 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm #56985
Have you ever encountered someone who just seems to grate on your nerves for whatever reason? I know this isn’t an uncommon experience, though the reasons for it often vary. They might be relatively stupid or superficial reasons such as, “I can’t stand the way their voice sounds,” or they may be more dire reasons like, “I don’t like their [presumably bad] behavior or lifestyle choices,” or it might just be that the other person seems to be in a position of unrecognized privilege. But whatever the reason may be, have any of you ever found yourself in a situation where someone just gets on your nerves for some reason?
I know that God is all; there is only one Mind. But it’s a temptation to think that there are these few other people out there that really bother you for some reason, who just don’t get it. They don’t get that God is all. Therefore I’m better than them.
Now stop. That is not what I actually believe. But that is what error tends to say, in our own thinking.
Honestly I think it’s easier if you actually get a chance to meet with people, talk to them, and get to know them better, because I’ve found that often direct and regular contact with a person kind of forces some more compassion on both ends. But then again, that isn’t universally true in every case either. Sometimes contact with certain people can actually make things worse, and can be quite repelling!
So my question to all the “thinkers” out there (it’s time!):
Have any of you had any demonstrations over this kind of thing that you’d care to share? Or any helpful thoughts? Thanks guys!March 1, 2012 at 6:49 am #57026
I’ve definitely had healings of being annoyed by someone. And I learned a long time ago that it’s better to love them as much as possible as early as possible, because life’s easier that way. ;) But I still have some healings to go on this one…
I heard something to the effect of “If you see one of God’s qualities, that means they’re all there” on a spirituality.com chat with Ginny Luedeman. The whole chat was good. http://time4thinkers.com/your-identity-god-defined/March 1, 2012 at 6:50 am #57027
PS — as I was typing that last post I realized someone I need to love more. I’m giving it my all today. Anyone want to join me?March 1, 2012 at 9:23 am #57037
There was a church member here many years ago that was a real challenge for me. I would try to avoid her (I know, I would have done better today) but at that time that’s all I could do. We were on the Board together and I would cry after the meetings at times. She was pretty condescending. I can’t say that I really worked deeply on it, but I plodded along in my church work with her as best I could.
There came a day when she couldn’t drive anymore, and since she lived on my side of town, I agreed to pick her up for church on Weds and Sun. I started to see that she was an interesting woman. She told me stories of when her children were young etc. I guess you could say I was tolerating her more.
Then some more years went by and she needed her legs bandaged a couple of times a day. There wasn’t a CS nurse close enough to come that often, so I ended up doing that for her. It was a real challenge for me, because I’m not a CS nurse and it was not really something I saw myself doing. A couple of things happened through that time though. One was, one particular day I was at home and she had called for something and after we hung up I just felt so annoyed. I was just standing there trying to be still and in my heart of hearts I said to God, tell me what you know about her. And before I could even blink, the thought came so strongly, “I delight in her!” Even today, that makes me tear up. I thought, well, if you can delight in her, I can certainly get past this annoyance.
The other little turning point was one of the times I was over there to bandage her legs. There I was, on my knees doing this job, and that image of Jesus washing his disciples feet came to mind. After that, it was easy for me to go help her. Not long after that she went to a nearby CS care facility where she could be helped a little more.
Looking back, I know I needed to learn humility and a greater sense of love. I’m not saying she was ever my best friend, but I did learn to love her for who she was–God’s daughter.March 1, 2012 at 11:31 am #57042
I don’t have a whole testimony to share, but I do have a line from S&H that has really helped me with this subject. “If mortal mind knew how to be better, it would be better” (S&H pg.186).March 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm #57048
Wow, these are wonderful ideas, guys. Annette, as usual, I really loved your story. The bit about condescension really rang true! But I guess I just have to dissolve that with the “universal solvent of Love,” and in my own thinking. And Kelsey — that is absolutely spot on! Wow! You know for all the times I’ve read S&H, somehow I missed that one. But it’s certainly something that just “feels true,” you know? Of course people always do the best they know how to do. And that’s a really helpful way to think about it. But I was so impressed, and happy, to see that Mrs. Eddy wrote it down so succinctly.March 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm #57148
Funny you should mention this, Gordon. This happened to me just today! There is a certain person in my life who I don’t really know at all, but who asks me to do things for him all the time. Usually, I take the gracious path and help him with an obliging smile. But today, I felt like his request was the last straw : I was very busy, he wanted my help right away, and the task was just a little too time consuming. I agreed to do it, but I wasn’t happy about it. The whole time I was doing this task I was mentally fighting about it… On the one hand I knew that I was helping my fellow mankind and that it was a blessing – not a burden. But on the other hand I couldn’t shake the strong feeling of annoyance – bordering on anger. It felt like he just liked to order people around.
After I performed the task, I took a moment to know the truth about this person. He was a child of God, not an arrogant man, and I didn’t need to be feeling slighted or putting my energy into negative feelings about any one of God’s children. I could feel the anger melt away. About 10 minutes later, he came and found me. He had just seen what I had done, and there was such a look of joy in his eyes! He was so delighted and relieved that he almost didn’t know what to say. One look at him assured me that he wasn’t arrogant, he was really struggling and needed someone to help. I was instantly so glad that I could be there for him – maybe no one else was.March 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm #57167
I had an experience a few years ago when I was working on with a committee on a particular project, and honestly, it felt like pulling teeth at times. We all had high hopes for the final project, and everyone genuinely had good motives in serving, but there was a LOT of disagreement and personality clashes. One particular decision sort of brought everything to a head, and tensions were running high. Frankly, my prayers started out pretty selfish– I don’t have time for this kind of drama! But as I buckled down and began to pray about the issue, I realized that there was a really pervasive sense of partisanship in our group– one side against the other. Interestingly enough, at the same time, Congress was debating health care legislation, and everything seemed to say that there was no way for compromise. When I realized that, it really helped my prayers gain traction. It helped me to realize that the clashes I was experience were no more personal to me than the clashes taking place in Congress, and neither one of them were intractable. I oriented my prayers to really understanding that there was only oneness with God, and we were all on the side of God’s allness. There were still a lot of differences of opinions in the committee I was on, but the process of working out those differences gradually shifted. Pressure and cynicism was replaced by trust and improved communication. It was fun again.
Sometimes when we’re in a situation we can get so caught up in it that we forget that it’s not personal to us, and that we can remove ourselves thoughtfully and get a different view. But even better, when we prove these facts about oneness and brotherly love, we’re not just improving our day-to-day life, we’re contributing to healing these issues in the world. That sometimes helps me when I’m feeling self-righteous about a situation- maybe I think I’m right, but even if I am, isn’t it worth it to let go of that if it helps heal the world? (I’ll admit, some days it helps more immediately than others ;) There’s so much talk about partisanship and unyielding impasses with regards to US politics (and really a lot of the world today). If we broaden our prayers here, it not only has to bless us, but it’ll improve that picture as well.
Love the ideas everyone else has shared here, by the way!March 5, 2012 at 12:50 am #57351
Am so grateful for this discussion! read through all these posts a few days ago and they were really helpful with a situation I was dealing with. Want to share the situation with you guys, because I think its relevant to the discussion. Over the past couple of months I had been having some serious problems with one of my flatmates. There was alot of misunderstanding and miscommunications, and we just weren’t getting on, to the point that we were not really able to talk to each other anymore and needed to have a mediated, face to face discussion. By this point I felt so hurt and upset by what she had said and done, that I didn’t really want to talk to her. It seemed like despite all the efforts I had made to love and to forgive, i was being blamed for other things. I just didn’t know how I could possibly get on with her, much less love her! we just seemed to have such different ways of thinking about things. I felt like I really needed a practitioner’s help on this. But when I rang the one that I wanted to talk to there was no answer, and the discussion was scheduled to happen in a couple of hours. So I just got down on my knees and really prayed, “Father, please show me how to love her”. I had a deep desire to express love, i just didn’t know how. and then I really studied this week’s lesson hard once more. There were so many beautiful thoughts in there. this one in particular helped me alot: “As mortals give up the delusion that there is more than one mind, more than one God, man in God’s likeness will appear, and this eternal man will include in that likeness no material element” (S&H 191:4). I thought about an idea shared by a friend at a wed testimony meeting about not only being able to see others correctly, but to see that they see you correctly as well. It also really came to me to see that this whole situation was not really personal at all – it wasn’t about me or my flatmate, but really just an oppurtunity to see the nothingness of the idea of more than one Mind and to really see God’s allness and the harmony that was really true. That lifted off such a weight. The only fight here ( if any!) was against error, and God was leading that one for sure, not me! I decided to really just to leave all in His hands.
I’m so grateful to say that the whole discussion went so beautifully. Both she and I were so open (this was not the case at all in the past), and were able to really listen to each other, to be loving, and answers came to resolve problems that just weren’t there in the past. It was just completely awe-inspiring. All the ugliness just faded away completely and we were just able to speak to each other from the heart. I was seeing a completely new person! and this was the completely unexpected cherry on the top: five minutes after we completed our discussion, she came to my room and asked me to pray for her! she said that she was having a really tough week, and talked to me about feeling insecure and not good enough to meet the demands of the course she is doing. I was able to share with her some ideas of God as Mind, infinite intelligence, that she instantly responded to. It was just beautiful.
This whole experience really helped me to see that each of us truly is that image and likeness of God – sometimes human circumstances or experiences seem to hide that likeness, but it surely is there! So underneath that person who gets on our nerves, or that seemingly ungrateful / arrogant / selfish person, is really God’s likeness just waitingggg to be seen!!!
Thanks again everyone for sharing so many wonderful ideas on this discussion!March 5, 2012 at 4:53 am #57357
That’s a really inspiring story. Your desire to love that person right through all human opinions really got me. I guess I should get to work with praying about my roommate that I’m not really getting along with right now… Until now I thought it’s not so important because not all people can be friends, but maybe it is not only better but really necessary to express love for that person. God’s likeness is waiting to be seen. Love that.March 5, 2012 at 9:34 am #57380
What a great example of humility, Nitya. To be able to put yourself aside and decide to love, I admire that. Thanks for sharing!March 7, 2012 at 10:53 am #57527
So many new voices added to this discussion! Thanks for all the wonderful ideas, guys, and the uplifting personal experiences! Suffice it to say that this is something I’m still working/praying through, but I’m grateful for this abundant sharing. And Jake — I can totally relate to you; that passage from 1st John 4 has kicked me in the teeth more than once!
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