For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Monday, October 10, 2016

When I Don't Like Someone

So all last week I talked about dying to self, crawling on the altar, giving up our self-righteousness, and all things feel good. (or maybe not) It all started with a woman in our class saying there were people she didn't like, and she was fine with it. Some folks were stunned that she would say that in a church class, but honestly, where better to say things like that? If we cannot be honest about our sin in church, where can we be honest?

Really, I hate the culture of the church that says, "If you are not great, wonderful, highly favored, blessed, or fantastic, then you are failing, and I cannot believe you had the audacity to walk in the doors of this church and contaminate it with that attitude." Seriously. I hate that. It ostracizes people. It makes them put on the false holiness thing I've been talking about. Church is supposed to be a hospital for the sick, not a social club for the feel-better-than-you. Church is the exact place we should be able to go and say, "Hey, I'm struggling. This person has offended me and hurt me, and I just cannot let it go...but I want to."

And that is the real issue. I think God knows as humans we are going to get offended, get mad, and be tempted to get bitter, and honestly, I think there are some things we have a right to be mad about.

A few months ago I talked with a woman who had endured horrible forms of abuse from an uncle. She had told me about this a few years ago, and we had talked several times about it. She had talked about the acts, the physical pain, the nightmares. She had always talked in a very calm, matter of fact manner. Until this particular phone call, and this time when she called, she was livid. She unleashed on him, her parents who suspected, other family members who suspected. I won't give you the details of what she said she would do to the "son of a bleeeeeep" if he were still alive, but I can assure you, he would be less manly. When had finished unleashing, she said, "You probably think I'm a horrible human being and a lousy Christian because I'm supposed to forgive him so I can be forgiven, and I'm not supposed to use that kind of language. Isn't that what you are supposed to say as a pastor."

I told her first of all, I don't use the Bible to beat people into submission (which is why she talked to me in the first place). Second of all, I think son of a bleep might be a bit kind. Third, I asked a simple question. "Do you plan to stay angry?" I could almost hear her blink through the phone. Finally, she asked, "What?" I repeated my question. "Do you plan to stay angry? See anger is a normal emotion in the grieving process, and Lord knows you have a lot to grieve, so I think the anger is really a sign you are healing. The question, though, is whether you plan to stay here or not. Because part of healing is moving past the anger instead of letting it become the leash that son of a bleep still controls you with."

And that is the real question. Do you plan to stay here, or are you just passing through?

I grew up in a family that lived in offense. Seriously. I think our address was something like,
#1 And Don't You Forget It Lane
Hold a Grudge, (State of) Offense

I saw what being mad all the time did, and while I would love to tell you my choice not to live in offense is all about wanting to be righteous, it isn't. A bit part of my choice is not wanting the consequences of being mad all the time.

Being offended all the time destroys relationships. It destroys marriages. It destroys relationships with family members. It destroys relationships with neighbors. Even some wars all boil down to someone got offended by someone else. Want to see the consequence of someone choosing to be offended? It's called the Holocaust. Why in the world would I want to live in that kind of destructive mindset? Why would I want to teach my children to live in that mindset and curse them to live with broken lives and broken relationships? I am a better mom than that. I choose to be a better person than that.

So what do I do?

1. On a regular basis, I ask the Lord to show me anyone I have a grudge, bitterness, or offense toward.
2. I confess in a real sentence my sin. "Lord, I have not forgiven this person, and I am wrong." Something huge and mysterious happens in our spirits when we actually use the words "I am wrong."
3. I ask forgiveness.
4. I ask to be purified of this bitterness, anger, or offense (1 John 1:9).
5. I ask the Lord to give me His heart for that person and to enable me to love that person like He does.
6. I ask the Lord to help me see the person's strengths, not just what drives me nuts.
7. Sometimes I just flat have to confess I'm struggling and need God to put His love for them in my heart.
8. I ask how I can practically express love to them. Amazing how acting with love nurtures the feeling of love.
9. I pray for that person as I would hope for my very closest friend to pray for me.

And when that person continues to grate on my nerves, because sometimes they do, I remind myself that I choose to love that person, and sometimes at that very moment I am having the nails-on-chalkboard reaction, I'll start to pray, "Lord, help me love them. Help me to see them like you do. Is there something causing this grating behavior that I need to pray about for them? How can I be their friend? Father, I choose to like them. Not just love them, but like them. I choose this. I need your help, but I choose this."

It just occurred to me as I was finishing that last sentence that what I pray can be summed up in one sentence:
Lord, change my heart toward that person.

There you go. Change me.

So often we pray for God to change the other person, to move the other person, to move us so we don't have to deal with the other person. Sometimes He says yes to those, but I have found almost always He says no to those prayers. But the prayer He always says "yes" to is, "Lord, change me that I may love and like more."

Yes, Lord. Change me.

Shalom, y'all.


  1. It took me a while to get around to reading this, and I'm sure that was God's plan because what a powerful message He sent through you. Praying for the strength and courage to do what I can't do alone is humbling - and this world needs some humility. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. I love when God does that!
    And I totally agree, this world does need some humility.