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Talking to God about people who bother you

Every now and then people like John get under my skin and I have to talk to God about them. Conversations go something like this one:   “Okay, Lord.  I need to talk to you about John.” “What seems to be the problem?” “Well, he is.  He is obtuse and he has no p…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Every now and then people like John get under my skin and I have to talk to God about them. Conversations go something like this one:
“Okay, Lord.  I need to talk to you about John.”

“What seems to be the problem?”

“Well, he is.  He is obtuse and he has no people skills.  He’ll probably never change and I’d just as soon not talk to him anymore. He irritates me.  My mind churns with arguments to use on him.”

“So why are you talking to me about it.  It sounds like you’ve made up your mind.”

“OK, I’m guessing that I’m missing something.”

“And what might that be?”

“John brings a kind of pain to my life.  I mentally grit my teeth and want to refuse to ever talk to him again.”

“So if John brings a form of pain to you what is it in you that he’s attacking that’s registering the pain?”

“I don’t know, my intellect?  My need for efficiency?  My concept of how normal civil people should behave?”

“It’s more than that.”

“Alright – I get ticked that he doesn’t agree with me and that he doesn’t respect me.”

“In other words, he offends you.”

“Well, yes, he does a bit.”

“There’s our problem.  You see, I’m the rock of offense.  That’s not John offending you, that’s me.”

“I don’t get it.”

“If there’s something in you that can get offended, it’s certainly not from me. It’s going to get in the way of your grabbing hold of my dream.  So I’m going to use John in your life to tweak your pride until you let loose of your need to be liked and your need to be right.”

“So what are you saying?”

“Here it is: the most difficult person in your life is actually my tool to give you my dream.  That person is what I use to point to more broken stuff in your heart that needs to go to make room for the dream I want to give you.”

“So that means that you’re actually using all the bad bosses and divorced spouses in people’s lives to clear out room in their hearts for your dream?”

“That’s exactly right.  When one shows up, I’m doing heart surgery.”

Comments (22)

  • had you been planning this one out or was this a recent thing directed towards me and my ‘friend’ haha. cause it is awfully close!

  • “If there’s something in you that can get offended, it’s certainly not from me. It’s going to get in the way of your grabbing hold of my dream.

    Love that line. Love it.

  • We can’t lose in this life if we’re walking with God. In His perfect ways of handling us, he has arranged the equation so that whoever wants to destroy me only ends up destroying the bad stuff.
    Thus do we become more useful to Him. Praise the holy name of Jesus.

  • I re read this a couple of times and in such a simplistic way it spoke volumes. After coming off of a weekend of seeking more of God and of His Spirit in my life , seeing the need to die to more of self to have more of Him fill me completely and as you wrote to make more room in our heart so that we can press forward in the direction He is taking in our lives the visions the dreams and the calling on our life. My prayer clean out my heart so that in every part of it ,you fill it with your love and your presence.. perform the surgery Im ready. Im hungry and starving for you to fill me to over flowing. thanks for blessing me with your words today seth.

  • Grant,
    I thought he was talking specifically to me, but now I realize he wastalking to those around me! Ha!

    Sometimes the person who is toughest to put up with is myself.

  • I was young and a new believer. I prayed for patience. Patience appeared disguised as a roommate named John, whom I also worked with. What a pain he was…and what a lesson I learned! As usual, another great post Seth.

  • The medicine which tastes the most bitter is often the best for me. Your post reminded me of that principle and today I will pray to be more aware.

    Thanks Seth.

  • That was a slice and dicer 🙂 Year ago, early in our marriage I was offended by several things my Hubby either did or failed to do. This dear little treasure in the body of Christ offered to take me to a ladies retreat. I don’t remember what the thing was about because God took me there to get me to the book table and buy the book “Lord Change Me.” Don’t remember a thing about the book except the title – because it caused me to repent and changed my outlook completely. Good post Seth. And I guess that I means I won’t try that discussion with God about the current offender in my life – 🙂

  • “If there’s something in you that can get offended, it’s certainly not from me.” This truth about God keeps me dependent on him.

    This post reminds me that whatever people may do, it is all used by a loving perfect Father for my good.


    Thanks Seth.

  • Dan Brown said it well….. Ouch. I have a John right now in my life and when I read that it all made sense….. thanks for sharing!

  • This spoke close to my heart. I have a “John” in my life – a man with no apparent redeemable qualities, yet need to deffer to him. As they say in AA, pray for those who irritate you daily for two weeks and wait for the miracle.

  • Wow! I was just praying about this subject yesterday. I asked God “Why am I so easily aggravated by so&so?” “What am I missing here Lord?” AND you decided to post this today. El Roi see us all.

  • Wow…so those people are ‘tools’ of God…I’ll have to remember THAT! A good read for me was John Bevere’s book,”Bait of satan”. One of satan’s most deceptive and insidious kinds of bait is something every Christian has encountered — offense. Not that we get offended, but what we allow GOD to do with it…heart surgery anyone?

  • Hi Seth,

    I kind of stumbled here but was touched by this post since I have been undergoing “heart surgery” this past year in response to the discovery of my husband’s infidelity. It’s been a really deep season of prayer, soul searching, and dying to myself. In James 1:2 we are told to “Consider it all joy…when you encounter various trials.” And you know what? If you go on to read verse 3, where he tells us that the testing of our faith produces endurance, and you truly believe that God has brought this (seeming) disaster or person into your life with the good intentions of a loving Father, you will thrive! I began a blog in late May and my first post touched on this very thing: http://oilofhisgrace.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html

    We not only can ENDURE the “John’s” in our lives, we can LOVE them with the strength God supplies. And He will – if WE will. “If we will what?” If we will surrender. While I haven’t done that perfectly – in fact I stumble all the time – I daily attempt to do it by looking for ways to be intentional. Again, I don’t rely on my own strength, but His. The results are that my husband and I are not only still married, but our marriage is the best it’s ever been in 18 years. Praise God!

  • The Lord is open 24/7 to whatever is bugging you..so congrats for hitting a nerve many folks have. Give Him a try..he knows stuff, cares, is free of cost. But you have to call, he is not a telemarketer on commission. For free info on our free to sll program plus lyrics of our song drop line to g hubbard p.o.box 2232 ponte vedra fl 32004 blog http:/talkwiththelord.blogspot.com/

  • This sounds very familiar. Remember my “year with Bruce”? During that time someone gave me a book called “Donkeys Still Speak” which was about how God used a Donkey to get Balaam’s attention. Basically, the author made the point that we will always have “donkeys” in our lives, used by God to get our attention regarding something he wants to teach us, get rid of etc. For me it worked!! Bruce was my donkey and God got my attention!!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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