When I was practicing medicine, I often had to deal with patients who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. For the caregivers, the situation was extremely frustrating. The disease often causes personality changes such as being critical, irritable, childish, apathetic or even violent. The caregivers required a lot of counseling. The hardest part was convincing them that the behavior of their loved one wasn’t something personal, but merely a part of the disease.
The seven deadly spirits
The seven deadly sins can be thought of as seven deadly spirits. The devil tempts us by whispering lies and deceit into our ears causing us to react in ways we dislike. The reason we overreact in response to the irrational actions of others is because we take it as a personal attack.
Don’t take it personally. Don’t let the enemy manipulate your emotions.
We might admit our faults, but it is much harder to respond to them. Most of the time, our faults appear only in encounters with other people. Some call this our shadow.
For example, if a person who is rude, loud and vulgar drives me crazy, it might be that I actually envy their spontaneity. Or maybe I wish that I could be the center of attention.
What if I react with intense anger? Perhaps I have an unhealed wound, and I want to take my pain out on someone else, thus leading to the sin of wrath.
Fight back like Jesus did
When someone mistreats you, don’t take it personally. Remember, we are all afflicted by the disease of sin. Satan wants more than anything is for us to return fire for fire. Take a step back; defeat the enemy. See the heart of the person offending you, and seek a way to serve them. Many times our greatest foes are those that are closest to us. So love your enemies.
Remember, in the depths of their hearts, those close to you love you. They might not show it, but their love is there. Ask the Lord to free this love. Intercede for those that hurt you and be like Jesus. In love, endure the suffering and rise above it.