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Whatever . . .

Recently, I've been working on some Bible study lessons that focus on messages in the Didache. I wrote this story (identifying details changed) to illustrate the transformation that can occur when we pray for our enemies (or for those who just flat irritate the living daylights out of us).
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Image ©Aileen Lawrimore 2014

I had this co-worker once—I’ll call her Buffy—who absolutely drove me crazy.

Tiny and petite, Buffy had been a competitive gymnast through high school, was a contender for national titles, and even went to college on a cheerleading scholarship. (I know this because she told me and everyone else who worked in our branch.) Also, though most of us had followed the same career path she had, she took every chance to remind us of her accomplishments and to mention the awards and recognitions she had received along the way.

And the condescending way she talked to our clientele and coworkers? I couldn’t stand it. Such arrogance! Buffy’s whole demeanor screamed, “I’m privileged. I’m beautiful. I’m superior.”

At dinner every night, I complained to my husband about Buffy: her pretentious attitude, her behavior, her biting comments. I fussed so much about Buffy that it was if she was right there at the table with us. I knew something had to change (and by “something,” I meant me).

Now, there was one thing about Buffy I did appreciate: she really loved her twin boys. I saw a lot of parents in my work for whom career, not family, took top priority. So the one thing I liked about Buffy was that she put her boys’ needs first. I decided to focus on that, and to praise God for her commitment to her children. Whenever I became frustrated by her, I tried to remember to stop and praise God for Buffy’s devotion to the twins. It wasn’t easy, but with practice, it became automatic.

You know what though? Buffy did NOT change. The entitlement air, the disproportionate focus on physical beauty, the apparent disrespect of others: all of it continued. And yeah, it still irked me; but not nearly as much. In fact, I didn’t notice those things like I had, because while Buffy remained the same, I changed.

I believe God granted me divine vision. Through God’s eyes, I began to see that Buffy looked a lot like me. We both fell short of God’s glory. We both failed to be all that God called us to be. And yet, God Almighty loved us both with an everlasting and all-consuming love.

Seeing her like that, I no longer saw her as the bane of my workday. I saw her as a child of God, a sister sojourner, a friend.

And of these sayings the teaching is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For what reward is there for loving those who love you? Do not the Gentiles do the same? But love those who hate you, and you shall not have an enemy. Didache 1:3