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Archive for the tag “bless”

Better the Devil You Know…my Frienemy

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Urban Dictionary: Frienemy

“A ‘toxic’ person who poses as a friend but subconsciously or consciously wishes you harm.”

Word Spy – Frienemy

 “A friend who acts like an enemy; a fair-weather or untrustworthy friend.”

I had a strange, almost familiar dream last night.  It involved a former co-worker and she was in hot pursuit of me.  She wanted to find out why I had been avoiding her.  She finally caught up with me at a metro station and I succeeded once again in avoiding her, only this time, I noticed she was hurting and  was needing me to comfort her.  She almost reached me….and then I woke up.  I thought about the dream as I was getting ready this morning and I remembered how the Lord has used dreams to get messages to me…some dreams pretty clear and specific, like the time He assured me that the child I was carrying was the one I had been praying for; other dreams have not  been as obvious, but have been symbolic in nature and most often the purpose or message has been revealed or played out.  While I haven’t been actively avoiding this girl, she’s someone I probably wouldn’t pull over to catch her up on the latest.  Knowing what I know, and having experienced her “specialness,” I will  not be surprised to hear when her season of reaping begins or heats up.

“Better the devil you know, than the one you don’t know.”  A little ditty one of my spiritual moms said, I’m sure.  This little ditty reveals my feelings about this girl.  I rather enjoyed her company in the beginning, but my eyes were wide open and my ears were on alert whenever I was around her.  I was familiar with her game. I had been observing her from a distance.  She was the type of person who would attempt to solicit all of your information and offer nothing in return….and everything you said could be and most often was used against you.  She was something else to behold in action:  sneaky and sly, hanging out in doorways and hiding in shadows to listen and watch.   I especially liked the part where she thought I was unaware of her shenanigans….I can play the dumb role really well.   I guess she would fall into the category of a “friend/enemy – a frienemy”).

She was super funny, quick and kinda helpful if you made her feel you really needed her or if by helping you, it made her look good or appear useful, but if you crossed her or slipped in any way, you were toast.  She was the boss’s sidekick and her job was to keep the boss happy…keep the boss laughing which worked for the rest of us (for the most part) because that kept the boss busy and us off of the radar (for the most part:)  She also kept the boss informed.  Her nose got a bit out of joint once she realized that the boss had taken a liking to me and then she turned up the heat against me big time, but I was ever watchful and super vigilant.  I purposed to stay in my lane, happily playing dumb, never taking the boss up on offers to hang out.  I knew that was her spot and I was so not interested in becoming the boss’s lap dog (sorry to be so blunt).  I was exhausted…you can hold your breath for so long, ya know.

That job ended abruptly without a farewell from her (or the boss for that matter).  At the end of the day, I discovered that these two (boss and sidekick) almost acted like a two headed monster, feeding off of one another, plotting and planning and cackling away at all of their conquests; portraying themselves as honorable but being anything but.  You really would have to see this show to believe it and I wonder….

I wonder how many people these two have hurt, run off, brought down, lied to and about; I wonder if there’s any remorse for bad behavior; I wonder if they know how dysfunctional their union is; I wonder if they realize that their nonsense is not a secret.  I especially wonder if they even care.  How can they not care?  I’ve run into the boss and her sidekick together once since my departure at a gathering, and they made a show about greeting me and I went along with it…hated to make them feel as ridiculous as they looked as they chased me down.   I hadn’t given her much thought until she had a starring role in my dream last night.  I asked the Lord to remove any lingering ought I had against her, if any, and then I prayed for her.  As I write this I think that was the purpose of the dream…for me to pray for her since I’ve been on the inside and know the real deal.  Those on the periphery haven’t a clue and I doubt that the ones on the inside currently are praying for anyone, besides themselves…as they duck and dodge the boss and her sidekick.  Every dog has its day and if my dream is as prophetic as the ones in the past, her day is coming soon and for that I am truly sorry.

Let me encourage anyone who is reading this who has sustained any type of emotional injury at the hands of a “frienemy.”  I’m praying that you rise up and move forward, healed and whole and obedient when called to pray for and do good to those whom the enemy has used to hurt you.  Anticipate an opportunity to be a blessing to that one so that the same weapon formed against you which prospered can be turned around and returned to sender…the real enemy in the deal.

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28

A Lesson in Humility (The last call)

Last-Call-Bar-Broadway-10-24-2009_5878-500x313“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7 NLT

This is the Prophet Isaiah’s foretelling of the suffering of Jesus.  This ordeal begins with a false arrest, false accusations, a beating which should have ended His life and finally with an ending unbefitting a King.  What has always stood out for me were the words “he never said a word” – “he did not open his mouth.”  How is it possible to be falsely accused and tortured without at least attempting to defend oneself; to be given an opportunity to speak up, but choosing not to?

I am often reminded of those words when faced with a situation where I need to defend myself, especially in light of my background – being number 6 in a family of 7 where there was always something jumping off and where everyone in my family seemingly loved having the last word on a matter.  It’s difficult to hold your peace, especially with my upbringing where to remain silent was most likely an indication of guilt; when I have always been a scrapper, a fighter…where there has never been an altercation I’ve walked away from without administering that final shot.  It’s especially difficult when one’s meekness is mistaken as weakness, but that’s where the humility part reigns.

It has taken the utmost of self-control in my walk with Jesus to zip the lip and I must say that most times it’s been effortless, with the occasional instance where I’ve had to just about sweat blood not to “lay hands” on my adversaries or at least give them a piece of my mind…something none of us can afford to do!  I need all of my pieces.  Humility can be difficult…it stings, even hurts, but its rewards are longlasting.

And so there I was having written my brother what I thought was a compelling, encouraging letter replete with uplifting scriptures, my testimony and an admonishment to live life to the fullest, with a bit of a rebuke for wallowing in self pity.  (A letter most would receive and regard as one from someone who cares).  Not so with my brother who labeled me a nut, among other things, and was happy to call me long distance in order to serenade me with a perfectly pitched diatribe which included every cuss word in his extensive vocabulary.  We had been quite close as children…him the baby of the family born 19 months after me.  As adults we were making a comeback in closeness, as he had separated from the family quite a bit making appearances from time to time which ended many times in discord.  I was safe from the drama living so far away from the family, so we mainly kept in touch by telephone.  I was kept apprised of his rantings and was able to talk him down most times when he called me and our conversations always ended in an upswing.  I knew when I picked up the phone that this conversation would not end that way.  It would appear that I was the last stop on his cuss out the family tour.  He had never spoken to me that way and I was rattled.  I listened quietly waiting for the screaming to subside in order to tell him I was sorry he felt that way about me; I would continue to pray for him and that I was not going to allow him to disrespect me any further and with that I hung up.  He called right back and began his message (I did not pick up) with “You always have to have the last word, don’t you.”  He continued his barrage, ending it prophetically with “you’ll never see or hear from me again.”

…Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.  Luke 6:27

I did just that.  I prayed for my brother.  I had compassion for him.  My once vibrant and handsome, hilarious (we are a funny family and he was the king pin) and brilliant brother was no longer there.  The difficulties he had endured during his life, the losses he had sustained from which he was never able to recover, caused him to turn to alcohol as an elixir for his pain.  He was a master at being stealth so the family was caught by surprise to discover that his condition was life threatening.  A friend later recounted a conversation my brother had with his doctor who warned him that his life would be cut short if he did not stop drinking.  My brother had the nerve to respond by telling the doctor that he enjoyed a glass of wine from time to time with his dinner and asked whether that would be acceptable.  The doctor’s response was blunt…”the only table you’ll be pulling up to will be one at the morgue if you don’t stop.”

As I prayed for my brother, the Lord revealed a need that he had.  I contacted my sister (the one I knew remained in good standing with him) and I hatched a plan to send her some cash for her to forward to him.  I asked her to leave my name out of it knowing that his pride would not allow him to take the gift. She did so and a short time thereafter she received a letter from him thanking her and remarking that out of all of his sisters, she was the most loving (always was) and most sensitive to him.  My sister felt bad receiving that letter and wanted to expose the truth, but I forbid her from doing so.  I was surprised that I felt that way, actually.  Who wants to give someone else the credit for your good works?  My sister had also been talking to him about the Lord and so to me it was just as well that he believed it came from her.

Weeks later we received the news that our brother was hospitalized in dire condition.  I wrote about it HERE if you’d like to read and be encouraged:)  My brother passed away and after the shock had worn off, when I finally had some time by myself en route to Indiana for his funeral, I closed my eyes and ran through a host of memories from our childhood, our high school years, that amazing summer of ’78 when our family had solidified its closeness, (through a haze of marijuana and kegs of beer) – sorry Jesus:).  I laughed at the times he would hand out gifts for Christmas and tell each of us how much they cost.  I recalled the sports talk radio guys who would be on air giving him shout outs and asking for him to call in.  He was so smart and funny.  I remembered the joy he experienced when his daughter was born.  I skimmed over his difficult years (the death of his beloved baby boy being his death blow) and I settled on the last call…not the one that took him out…the one aimed at taking me out (our conversation). I remembered the first thing he said and the words he closed that awful message with that he left on my answering machine and realized they were in fact prophetic!!

1.  I did have the last word; and

2.  I never saw him or heard from him again.

It was hurtful to be spoken to that way by someone who was supposed to love you.  Growing up he always had my back and would have fought King Kong if he had to defend me.  It made me angry that he disrespected me that way.  I had only been kind to him when others weren’t so much.  I had entertained his foolishness when others had grown tired of him; I was so undeserving of his wrath.  With everything in me I wanted to strike back, but I held back and then only with the grace of God was I able to pray for him; to bless him.  Humility stings, it does hurt, but self control is necessary in order to maintain one’s peace so that one could hear clearly.  In the end, my reward came knowing that after all the hurt he inflicted, I was still able to hear, obey, forgive and bless and I did all of that never opening my mouth…but I did have the last word. 😛  I love you R…I miss you!

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