There are challenging, difficult people in our lives to teach us important life lessons. We all have one or two who cause us to extend extra grace and provoke us to pray more extensively for them as we learn to relate to them in our daily walk. Maybe, at times we ARE of difficulty to someone else! I know, we don’t like to think about that, do we?
Jesus, the Person of Truth, the Light of wisdom in a dark world, dealt with difficult people every hour of every day of his ministry/mission while on this earth. It wasn’t just the religious leaders. There was one in His ranks! As I read this next passage my thoughts center on the person of Judas and his reaction that spoke volumes about what is really in his heart.
Read this familiar, beautiful story of Jesus being anointed by His loving disciple, Mary, and see if you agree that Jesus, who knows all hearts and knows how Judas will end his life, handles the situation with him…biding his time…giving Judas enough “rope” figuratively speaking to show himself now and later for who he really is without calling him out at this time.
John 12, The Message
12 1-3 Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.
4-6 Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces.” He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.
7-8 Jesus said, “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me.”
9-11 Word got out among the Jews that he was back in town. The people came to take a look, not only at Jesus but also at Lazarus, who had been raised from the dead. So the high priests plotted to kill Lazarus because so many of the Jews were going over and believing in Jesus on account of him.
What do we learn from how Jesus dealt with Judas, the “difficult” person in His band of disciples, who will even betray Him later?
–Jesus stay focused on the beautiful moment of the loving act of Mary. She was the focus and example of pure love.
–Jesus turned negative talk to more positive thinking, revealing Who He is, once more, and reminding them of what is ahead.
When faced with our own difficult people who arise in our life moments, focus on the important, what is lasting, what is holy, what is of God. We need to ask ourselves, of what importance will this be in five to ten years down the road? How can I learn from this?
One more thought…people change. Give them time to do just that, as time was given to us by our passionate, patient Savior. While changing, and you want the truth to be known about them, wait…give them enough rope, so to speak, for Truth will come to the surface. It may take days, weeks, months or even years, but our true hearts will be revealed sooner or later.
Jesus could have said, “Judas, I know what you are up to!” But he didn’t. It wasn’t time. Mm.
Dear Heavenly Father, It is difficult to wait. We do not like to wait. We want a difficult situation with challenging people to end quickly so we can move on, but you are teaching us that dealing with people is a continuous lesson in patience in this life’s journey. All of your created people have moments of difficulty in this imperfect world with flawed, hurting people…who hurt people. Help us in the wait to pray sincerely without malice. Keep us from being a difficult person to someone else. Help us to be a blessing to someone today instead. In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.