Rev. Dr. Anna Verlee Copeland's Blog

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April 21 Post

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The two things most difficult for me in this world are intentional meanness and needless suffering. They go together of course. If someone hurts someone else intentionally through mean-spirited thoughts, words or actions, it may necessarily cause needless suffering. It rarely happens that someone is mean to another person unless somewhere, sometime, somebody has been mean to them. That’s where things get complicated. The person who’s now acting mean, once may have suffered.

Through the decades of ministry, I’ve heard just about every version of meanness known to humankind, and listened to all manner of suffering stories. It hurts me just as much now to hear what people do to one another as it did when I first started listening so long ago.

But these things I know. First, when someone is mean to you, back away slowly, as you would an angry dog. Get safe. It may not be their fault that they are mean. They may be scared, as most bullies are scared little kids puffed up big. Nevertheless, if you put your hand in the mouth of an angry dog, you may get bit. God wants more for you than this.

Secondly, when someone is cruel to you, continue to stay out of harm’s way unless or until their behavior changes. Stay safe. If they are unwilling or unable to stop what they are doing, you may not be able to remain in a relationship with them. You may choose to of course, for any number of reasons, but you don’t have to. God wants more for you than this.

Finally, when someone causes consistent harm to you, forgive them. This will be hard. We cannot do it alone. Yet through Christ all things are possible. Let go. Holding on to anger and resentment over what they have done to you will keep you captive to their words, actions and behavior. God wants so much more for you than this.

Forgiveness is not forgetting. It is remembering and letting go of the power of that person to hurt you. You are loved without proof, worthy without merit, cherished beyond doubt. Jesus came that you might have a life overflowing with abundance. Live.

Prayer: Just for today O God, remind me that I am loved, I am worthy, I am forgiven, I am set free to live according to your promises. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you

Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Community Church of Vero Beach