I began reading through the book of Ruth the other day and although she is the main focus of the text, I was struck at the end of the first chapter by the emotions of Naomi, her mother-in-law.
Naomi had moved from Bethlehem to Moab with her husband and two sons when a famine
came. The sons eventually got married there and life was good for awhile. However, some years later she returns back “home” to Bethlehem after losing not only her husband, but also her two sons in Moab. In her own words, “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.“
Naomi had become bitter due to life’s circumstances and she blamed it all on the Lord. Sound familiar?
Many people are mad at God, even us Christians can be, but we don’t want to say it. Instead we choose to live our lives bitter and angry with everyone and everything around us. Know someone like that?
As I considered Naomi here, the Lord quickened in me: “You just don’t know what someone has experienced. Don’t judge them or retaliate back. Respond in love and see what happens. Don’t take it personal.”
Usually the actions of such persons aren’t personal towards you. You just happen to be the one close by when they lash out from their inner wounding. Good chance they don’t even know it’s there, it’s so deep.
Healing comes differently for each person. Some seek it and move past their hurts, and some don’t, preferring to writhe in bitterness and anger for the rest of their lives. We cannot heal them, but we can love them. We can respond in love when they erupt in hatred. We can choose to be kind when they continue to be mean. As the saying goes, “Hurt people, hurt people.”
Love is a choice. And we know we’re always loved by the Father.
So you just don’t know what people around you are going through or been through, but by God’s grace you can express love to them in the midst of it. You could bring a little light to their darkness, they might even be intrigued by it. If you read the book of Ruth, you’ll see how God helps Naomi get her healing by way of her daughter-in-law. The Lord uses people just like us.