I enjoyed the first part of Beth Moore's message, "Loving Difficult People", so much I had to go on and watch the rest of them. This message was so humbling. It taught me to see issues with difficult people from a different perspective.
Honestly, I just thought that for some reason, God didn't want me to have great relationships with the difficult people in my life. I prayed for years to have closer relationships with these people. As I grew impatient, and as matters seemed to get worse instead of better, I prayed for God to just help us get along with each other. I even went as far as confronting the people and explained that certain things they did hurt me. I offered my apologies to things I may have done that causes them to treat me the way they do, but this would just add fuel to their fire.
I then approached the situation with constant prayers for strength to offer forgiveness, whether they wanted it or not. I knew forgiveness couldn't be the end, because it didn't seem to leave me fulfilled. Satisfied, maybe, but not fulfilled. I would pray with wonder if I actually did forgive, because the matters seemed to get more and more challenging.
After this message, I realize that I have the ability to love, because God first loved me. Therefore, my love tank is filled from having His approval, not theirs. I can still offer them love without receiving it. I may never receive it. My only job is to love them. God will handle the rest. I need to find my peace in that.
I think that I saw things from the perspective of, "If you are nice to them, they'll be nice to you." This isn't always true. This is not what God means when he says to love the unlovely. He offers no promises that they'll love back. It's selfish of me to assume this. Instead, God tells me that He'll love me no matter how much I love them. BUT, if I don't love them, regardless of their response, I will not look like Him. He will not be seen through me. Basically, this isn't a mission to gain approval from these difficult people anymore. I already feel like a load of work is lifted off. It takes the chore of trying so hard out of it. I can be me, and just choose to love them. This opens the opportunity for God to work through me. He'll do all the work.
Here are the links to parts 2-6 of this message.