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Difficult people

We all have what Gordon McDonald describes as VDPs–very draining people.  I think he said that we have to guard against VDPs robbing us of our spiritual passion.  But is it possible that these VDPs or “difficult” people may be used by God to do a deeper work in us?  To be honest I don’t like the idea but I was reminded of it twice this morning and so I figure that I better pay attention. And not surprisingly, this comes at a time when I may need to deal with one of those “difficult” persons.

First from Letters from the Desert by Carlo Carletto, (bold type is my own)

“Yes, I must go beyond justice. To triumph over the sickness of victimization, I must go beyond it. Like Jesus and in imitation of him I must wearily climb against the slope of my pain, and throw myself courageously in the descent towards my brothers and sisters, above all towards those whom the short-sightedness of my sick eyes sees as the cause of my evils.

There is no other solution.  There is no true peace and union with Jesus without it.  As long as I waste time defending myself, I get nothing done and I am not truly Christian; I do not know the depths of the heart of Jesus.

To forgive, really forgive, means convincing ourselves deep down that we merited the wrong done to us.  What is more, it is good to suffer in silence.”

Second reading this morning came from Oswald Chambers,The Message of Invincible Consolation in The Love of God, written between 1924-1930. He is discussing the great passage at the end of 2 Cor 4:16-18. Bold print is again mine.

The perishing of the outward man is not always indicative of old age.” 80

God enlarges us on the inside, not externally. . . No matter how wearied or expended the body may be in God’s work, there is the winging of the inner man into a higher grasp of God.

The very thing which is an affliction to you is working out an eternal weight of glory.84

Self-pity is taking the wrong standpoint. And if self-pity is indulged in, before long we will take part in the decaying thing instead of that which grows more and more into the glory of God’s presence. 86

“afflictions tackle these unseen centers of our life” 88

“Think of the weight of glory that may be yours by means of that difficult person you have to live with, by means of the circumstances you are in, the people you come in contact with day by day. The phrase ‘a means of grace’ comes with a wonderfully new meaning when we think of it in this light.” 88

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