Should We Break Bread with the “Bad?”

I read her words and they stung.  But why?

“Don’t waste your time on negative people, but stay focused on being positive.”

Why did that sting?

I just wrote about this very thing in my own words, right HERE. So why the weird rub, Meghan?

The above was good advice wasn’t it?

But didn’t Jesus spend time on or with negative people? Was He not breaking bread with men who complained and competed against one another at times?  Did He not “do life” with these types?

Or did I have it all wrong?

I think in my heart of hearts I already knew why I felt a knife in my chest when the  above words met my eyes.

Because recently I had been hurting.

I had been feeling like the negative one.

And I would very much want Jesus to help me, to love me, not leave me alone because he was already so together, why bother with me?

He did bother with me. But I wasn’t a bother to Him. He saw it differently. He cared to come from His perfect Kingdom to a broken world to save you and I. Out of love.

I felt as if her words were directed at me. But they weren’t. She didn’t even know me.

God always has a gentle way of showing me when my heart needs healing. When my heart needs surrendering. Re-surrendering I should say. Because it’s a choice everyday.

***

My immediate thought when read her words were, “But what if that negative person is just crying out for help and they don’t know how to communicate that?

Because that person was me that day, that week (probably unknowingly, much longer).

***

I feel like God has given me a heart for broken-hearted, lost and lonely people because though I am surrounded by kids and have been married for almost 13 years, I have experienced these things.

Somewhere in life, we all have.

The person that wrote those words might have been coming from  a place of trying to overcome their own issues and knew there were times when a person had to intentionally surround themselves with as much positivity as possible, in order to work through things without negative feedback dragging one down.

I get that. I do. I have had to do that same thing before.

Make intentional choices in especially hard seasons, that cut out some of the yuck so I could focus.

And…

There are also those out there who seem negative all the time and we would just rather stay away.  It seems like no matter what we say or do, they always squash the smile, retort with sarcasm, or dash our hopes and dreams verbally or by way of eyebrow-raising or face-snarling.

I understand. I have those people in my life too. And I am sure I done those things even if unintentionally to others at times too, though I am not proud of it and repented.

***

I am writing this today because though I understand we may not want to buddy up with those who live this way on a regular basis, without care or regard to their harmful repetitive behavior-I want to say – we can’t forget them. We can’t discount them.

The negative person is not a hopeless case and we can’t put ourselves above them mentally and in heart.

Usually the tough ones are hurting the most, even if they don’t know it yet. They are battling something too.  Maybe they think their hard shell will protect them from others seeing what is really there…

I have seen this is in my own life with people I know. I have experienced this myself.  Sometimes we just need a patient and understanding, compassionate and loving person to just listen, or just be there.

To not judge us, to not try to fix us -but to just be.

And through that, God moves. He speaks without words too.

He speaks through you, through your presence as a friend, as a comrade – because He LIVES in you brother & sister.

Disciples

I pray the body of Christ will start to see negative, hurting, and different-than-us-people through a new lens.

That they are not people who we should be scared of, intimidated by, constantly at odds with, shy away from, or talk down about.

I pray we can start to see God’s mercy and help as bigger than the toughest issue or personal problem that could ever surface.

I desire to see through a God-given lens of compassion and heartfelt love, the unconditional kind in which I love and pray with sincerity, without expecting to receive something from the hurting or even hateful one -but can focus on giving love in some form.

If you haven’t and would like to, check out my blog post titled, “What Difficult People Reveal.” It sort of goes along with this but was written a few months ago with a perspective of heart changes God wants to do in US through the negative we face.

Grill

 

You may feel like sharing one simple meal when you aren’t even sure you have enough to go around is a very big deal to God, but there may be a person out there who just needs to know someone cares about them  right in the middle of their mess. It is ministry. It is what Jesus did. Trust that He will take what you offer and multiply it.

Thanks for stopping by today and hearing my heart.  God is always peeling back layers, one small step at a time.

Linking up with #CoffeeAndJesus#GraceAndTruth#FreshMarketFridayRaRaLinkup #TellHisStory#IntentionalTuesday #LiveFreeThursday #SittingAmongFriends

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23 thoughts on “Should We Break Bread with the “Bad?”

  1. Meghan, this is so what I need to read because I get confused about this very issue. I want to be there for all. I also can only handle so much negative thoughts and words. I care about so many so much. I need to know and to hear good things from the heart of God. So I ponder these words of yours and God’s Word and He will direct my path. It will include both sides, I believe. He will strengthen me for the days I can barely handle the harsh. He will guard my heart when hurt is hurled. He also will continue to grow me so that the image of Christ is viewed in me from others whom I help, talk to, love, forgive, care for and about…so much more. This is good, Meghan. You have given me much nourishment.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    1. I have been back and forth too, Linda. I guess just being one having gone through some anxiety and depressive stuff causes me to wonder just how many others deal with with it too and if it comes out looking ugly rather than a black and white cry for help. And I understand some don’t want to be helped but as you said it all comes with letting Him direct us in each situation. We definitely can’t do it all and help every person, that is actually where I have experienced much guilt and confusion in the past as a Christian. I guess it is all part of growing and learening. I do wish there was more discipleship in these areas but when not available we can always know we can go to Him in prayer and the Word to learn. Thanks so much for stopping by, Linda. Your words encourage me!

  2. Yes, Meg, this is such a needed word today in the Body of Christ! It reminds me of the Sandi Patti song, “In Heaven’s Eyes” when she says, “there are no losers, no Hopeless cause, only people like you and me, who stand amazed at the Grace we can find, in Heaven’s eyes.” I am asking God to show me more about how HIS GRACE views the ugly and the anxious and the hard. There is so much I have to learn from Him. And even in the setting of Boundaries, it’s not up to me to choose where and when to put up the walls–I certainly get it wrong every time when I try to do that on my own! Thank you for these precious thoughts today! –Blessings and Grace to you!

    1. I love how you said, “wrong when you try on your own,” because that is so how it is right? Thanks for being transparent here, Bettie. We are all on this journey together. Thanks for stopping by, friend!

  3. I’m glad I found your post through the Grace and Truth link-up. This is definitely one of those topics with which I struggle. It can be so draining to hang around negativity, and, therefore, tempting to avoid it. You touched on some things that have been on my mind lately – we’re called to love people where they are. It’s not up to us to change them. That’s up to God. We just have to be witnesses for Him. Great post!

  4. Hi Meg,
    I’ve had similar thoughts that you’ve articulated here and I love where you landed! Because although I like to think that’s not me, I know I am often the difficult one and I definitely know I wouldn’t want to be around myself sometimes! 🙂 When we keep as our example to love as Jesus loved in front of us, then we can’t go wrong!

  5. There’s so much in here Meg. And so much I struggle with too, knowing when to put in boundaries and when to keep reaching out. With one friendship I listened to my husband’s warning to retreat and I now see Matthew 10:13 in that decision…even though my husband isn’t a believer. I struggled so much in doing that because I know she’s been through horrendous things that have caused her great pain. But my husband saw the damage she was doing to me (and therefore also my family), which was the basis of his decision. I saw that too, but my heart ached for her. She was VERY anti-God (which makes me see Matthew 10:13 in this). The balance is so hard. I wish there was more discipling on this too.

    1. I looked that verse up in the Message version, Anna to get the full context of what it was saying. I totally agree you have to let God lead and we can’t just allow ourselves to be taken advantage of. I guess when I wrote this I was picturing myself when I went through stuff (being Christian but lost and confused and lonely) and also pictured another person I know who is a Christian but have experienced a life of hard blows and instead of falling on their knees for help from God, it seems like they are getting somewhat of a hard shell…and my heart goes out to them. I know the scripture talks about how we can pull some out of the fire by our loving kindness. But I also know we can’t make someone be open to God’s truth either. I agree there should be more discipleship too. I am hungry to learn the meaning of some of these scriptures that I have taken for granted for too many years. Thanks for sharing your input here truly and we can still pray for the friend you had cut ties with. God is big!

  6. BTW I’m so sorry you’ve been through such a hard time lately. And yes I don’t think one of us can claim we’ve never been “difficult” at times. I know when I faced PTSD that I was not always so pleasant to be around and that my kids and husband bore the brunt of it…things I’ve had to confess and seek forgiveness for as well.

    1. You’re so kind, Anna thank you for your heartfelt words. I too, acted in ways I had to ask forgiveness for. I know God made me sensitive for a reason so I can maybe discern, but I am just now learning about some of that and how to properly help with that gift, by praying and being available when people are hurting and need encouragement. Before I would get so emotional and be so weighed down by it all, I would get overwhelmed and didn’t know how to deal. It has been a long process and God is leading me in the right direction to some leaders in the family of God who will be helping me soon. I am really excited about it all.Sorry that was so long! Thanks again for visiting here, I always feel such a kindred spirit with you friend!

      1. Love how God is leading you in this and using everything you’ve been through to bless others. Our God is a mighty God. Oh and never apologize for long responses: I love them because what share gets me thinking too. You’ve reinforced something I’ve been reflecting on: how God places us where we need to be at the exact right time and opens our eyes to faith at the exact right time and brings healing at the exact right time…so that we can step into what He has waiting for us: oh the joy in doing so!!

  7. LOVING THIS! xoxo Tweeted and shared on FB. Loving your servant’s heart, Meg. So much love to be given and to be received. Because Jesus said. Have a beautiful weekend, my sweet friend. God bless you.

  8. I have to admit i’m feeling the sting a little too… I’ve been on both sides– being the negative person and also doing everything I can to avoid them. But you’re thoughts are spot on… Jesus didn’t avoid them and thank goodness he doesn’t shy away from us. What an example is He… All the ♥♥♥♥♥’s to you today my dear.

  9. How timely this topic is for me. My husband and I were just having this conversation, as he has a co-worker who is very negative, and is dismissed and disliked by most everyone. My husband continues to try to interact and redirect even when most times it is fruitless. But then there’s that one time when it works! Love this message friend:)

    1. Oh wow that is so neat and very compassionate of your husband. Praying God touches that man in some way. I like to always think of Paul when I run into or hear about a deemed “hopeless case.” God is big! Thanks for stopping by, Crystal!

  10. I found your post on the Grace & Truth Linkup. I think theres a difference between hanging out with negative people or unbelievers to uplift them and bring them to Christ, and hanging out with such people in order to dwell in like minded negativity or unbelief. Christ was always there to uplift and inspire through the word of God.

    1. Yes it’s true, Lizette! This post was on my heart in regards to the known way of the pharisee attitude. Like a “too dirty, don’t touch” mindset. God bless you and thanks for stopping by!

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