I’ve been careful not to say much about our opposition, mainly because I don’t want to devolve into character assassination. D and I have had many, many private conversations over personality analysis. Sometimes it’s helpful (a reality check that we see the same thing) and sometimes we just need to let God be the arbiter. I came to a realization several weeks ago that allowed me to stop trying to make sense of it all and trust that God is in control. Instead, I pray very specifically for supernatural healing and intervention. It’s supernatural because it’s a God thing. “Every prayer is a powerful weapon. Strongholds come tumbling down and down and down!” On the exterior, this person defies human induced change.

I keep bumping up against this expectation that Christians should look Christ-like in their behavior. I know I don’t always look Christ-like, but in general I hope that my actions and reactions resemble Christ’s model. I’m striving to know more about how to let go of pride and self-righteousness . I reflect on my shortcomings. I have an understanding of God’s grace for me that allows me to extend it to others. It’s a process for sure. It’s incredibly disappointing, and at times heartbreaking, to see how pride, self-righteousness and fear (are they all the same thing?) riddle the soul of someone who has so much impact on my life and the lives of people that I love. I’m aware that even pointing this out puts me in danger of self-righteousness, though. Tricky business.

On one level, I have difficulty coming to grips with the selfish, malicious, manipulative behavior. The lies, hyperbole and defiance in verbal and written assault are hard to take. The rigid posture with no empathy or understanding is incredibly frustrating. What governs a person like that? Surely not a spirit of grace.

At another level, I have the perspective that there is cause and effect at play in this person’s life. I feel very strongly that she has wounds that have never healed. She also exhibits bitterness clearly resulting from unforgiveness. I have compassion for this, because I know that she’s imprisoned by these things. I know this because there was a time when I was also entangled by them. I want so much to bring her a testimony of freedom — the freedom available to us in Christ’s love and resurrection. Sadly, I’m not the person that can deliver that message.

So, I pray and I trust that a holy God is working in ways that I can’t see — down under the veneer in the heart. How awesome it is that the merciful creator of the universe touches us there!