Getting stung stings. In life, we are stung by bees, stung by fire ants, stung by people. Stings are painful… and they hurt most when they are caused by people we love and care about. Then there’s the sting of someone who has a relationship with Christ as we do, which can often be the kind of sting that creates the biggest swelling pain causing us to question them, and even ourselves. Here is where our own motives come into play and a discerning heart becomes necessary. It becomes like that nagging itch of a red ant that just when we feel we’ve scratched ourselves into relief, the itch becomes even more overpowering and causes us to keep scratching in order to bring freedom from this annoying pain. In the end, it leaves our skin dry, red, and sore even long after the sting is gone. And so it is with our spirits. When we scratch just the surface of what the problem is between that person and ourselves, we never really come to grips with what the true issues are. And seeds like doubt, hurt, anger, frustration, and unforgiveness become the soreness sewn into the depths of our worn spirits. In the core of these true issues, is where our discernment of the situation and in that of our motives, as well as those of the other, become necessary for the healing balm of the Holy Spirit to take full effect. This will allow even the after-effects of such a personal sting to dissipate into a nothingness, leaving behind not a single remnant of the previous pain. Unless, of course, we choose to hang on to it. In a beautiful way, our Creator designed each of us with a uniqueness of personality that forms the very person we are. This goes to show that even when you have two people in conflict, even two that share a faith-filled life, there can be differences in outlook and opinion. My husband always says, “Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s wrong”. This is the case for situations such as this most of the time. Two people with great intentions can have differing outlooks and opinions leading to different results…neither of which may be wrong- but both taking on their own persona, much like that of the unique personalities the Lord has gifted each of us with. Here is where the sting can become something of worth. We need to be careful not to assume we know best. Listening to the heart of the other becomes incredibly important as we first begin to listen in order to understand instead of speaking to be understood. You’ve heard the saying, “Two heads are better than one”. Well, this can be the case when we work together as opposed to against to bring about something that on our own would not be quite as spectacular. Learning lessons like this is something that happens quite often to me as I journey through life. I have come to the realization that I am not always right, nor do I need to be. And even more so, when we have the opportunity to work alongside someone and our strengths align, great things can happen! Jesus, thank you for people. People can be difficult. And oftentimes, it seems easier to go it alone than to deal with conflict. But we know that we all are uniquely made and created in Your image. Help us to be a reflection of you; choosing to see these qualities in others as something special as opposed to an annoyance. Thank you for giving us eyes to see through the lens of Christ and teach us to love people as you do. Amen.