Dealing with “Dogs” and “Pigs” (3)

We have come now to the only effective way of dealing with difficult people, whose attitudes and actions seem wrong to us. We have already seen that we should first examine ourselves and ask God to show us the more serious flaw of which we are probably guilty. Meanwhile, we should avoid criticizing our brother with a proud and condescending heart. Instead, we should pray to God. Ask Him for insight into your own words and deeds. Beg Him to show you how you are guilty of an offense similar to (though perhaps not exactly the same as) the one you find so irritating in your neighbor. He will answer that prayer, and often quite quickly! Once you have seen your own sin, beg for forgiveness and for God to transform you. Keep on asking, seeking, knocking, and the Lord will surely grant your request, though the process may take time. Perhaps most of us find it almost impossible to believe that God would change us, or a person whom we consider unlovely, or the situation between us and that person. But Jesus has commanded us to love our enemies (5:44); surely we can trust the Father to enable us to fulfill His commands! Jesus has also reminded us that our Father is in heaven; the kingdom, power, and glory are His; he hears and answers prayer (6:6, 9, 13). Now the Lord assures us of God’s fatherly love towards all who trust in Christ, and reminds us that even human fathers, who are selfish, give good gifts to their children. How much more will our heavenly Father answer our prayers for wisdom, humility, patience, and love towards those who hurt us! Reviewing this entire process, we find that it is just what we would want others to do with our faults. Do we respond well when people criticize us harshly, as if they had no faults of their own? No! Usually, we reject their exhortations and even respond with our own criticism of their behavior – just like “dogs” and “pigs”! We would rather have others set us a good example and pray for us before they point out one of our flaws. “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”