If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 12:18

So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting]……..

2 Corinthians 4:18a

Put on the full armor of God, so that you may be able to stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.

Ephesians 6: 11-13

A few weeks ago a friend asked me to pray for her as she was anticipating the arrival of numerous family members they love dearly but see seldom. Relationships with family can be tricky and she wanted this special week to be free of interpersonal stress and any negativity. I took some time alone to pray for her. I prayed earnestly and found myself rather surprised as God gave me a picture that was specific as to exactly how both she and I were to pray. This picture proved extremely helpful as I face my own interpersonal dilemmas and I believe it has rather broad reaching applicability for us all.

In my minds eye the Lord showed me a stage with many actors clearly engaged in a play the audience was watching. Behind them was a large dark curtain we usually see in live theater. I then heard the Holy Spirit in a quiet inner voice, “what you see is not all there is, you need to ask me what is behind the curtain, hidden in the darkness”.  I knew then that the Lord was showing me two realities. The one on which we interact with others is a place where we only see what the other shows us through behavior, not what drives that behavior. I also seemed to realize that this “stage” is where the enemy infiltrates and creates frustration, confusion, hurt feelings, offense and broken relationships.

When we ask the Lord to show us what is behind another’s actions or words we automatically take our focus off our personal reaction and onto understanding them. This creates a posture of love and desire for understanding where the enemy seems less likely to tread. Often times we will see immediately what motivates perhaps an abrasive behavior or word but I have found that this path to understanding can take time. We may have to press in and pray for insight. However in that posture of seeking truth, personal offense ebbs away. The Lord is so gracious to us when our heart is aligning with His.

This is a very short teaching but seems extremely significant. The Lord revealed to me the importance of recognizing what we see in another is usually not all there is. That to truly love the person we are in relationship with we need to look beyond the immediate word or deed and ask God to reveal motivators, or past pains that might be causing less than desirable words or actions. In addition be willing to hear if we may have some culpability as well so that we are able to make a correction in how we are relating. Then we are able to go a step further and utilize our spiritual authority to bind up any negative spiritual forces that may be in play and change the atmosphere through prayer and our own words and reactions. In doing these things personal offenses seem to melt away and love takes its place. In that spirit of love and desiring the best for the other person we can ask the Lord to show us keys to showing them love the way they hear it best, perhaps different from the way we hear it or express it naturally.

In conclusion I am endeavoring to hold on to three points that are easy to remember as I interact with others:

Asking the Lord to open my eyes of understanding, to reveal that which is hidden in the darkness.

Not giving ground to the enemy through offense

Asking for Keys to peace and how to love well.