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23, September 2018

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Friends In Disguise

‘I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles that I suffer for Christ.’ 2 Corinthians 12:10 NLT

When you’re insulted, you can retaliate with a stinging comeback or see it as a growth opportunity. David said, ‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Your statutes.’ (Psalm 119:71 NKJV) Psychologist Dr Brenda Shoshanna says: ‘The person who insults us is a teacher… come to help us reduce our ego, develop patience and compassion, practise unconditional forgiveness, and teach us about life and relationships. If you don’t perceive an insult as an insult, but as a teaching or a gift, it loses its power to hurt you. On a practical level, if you’re insulted, say nothing. Give yourself time. Much harm is created by lashing back, escalating the situation, and saying things you may not mean. Recognise it’s your ego—that false sense of pride acting up—and don’t go along with it.’ Paul reached a place where he actually took ‘pleasure in…insults’. Most of us aren’t quite there yet, but with time and practice it can happen.

Consider the actions of Judas. Although he betrayed Jesus, he nevertheless accomplished God’s will—in fact, he was instrumental in God’s plan of redemption. So it can be that God can bring blessing into and through our lives by the betrayal of friends or the malicious action of enemies. God, who makes all things work together for good for those who love Him, can use even our worst relationships as a means of untold blessing. We can’t stop hurts and wounds from coming our way but, because of the grace of God, we can transform them so they resound to His glory. And we can realise that even enemies, like Judas, are really friends in disguise.

SoulFood: 1 Ki 17:1–6, 1 Ki 18:16–39, 1 Ki 19:9–18, 2 Ki 2:1–12

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2018

23, September 2018

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