There are a lot of difficult personalities I have to contend with in my job, many more than I have ever encountered elsewhere. Sometimes, I think God assembled a lifetime of difficult people in this one place where it is permissible to use His Name, display a crucifix and pray. I'm sure this was by design, just as it is by design when you meet a vile, despicable person on the street who does or says something objectionable thing that makes you want to haul off and slug them. God expects us to react, but not in that way. He puts such people in our path so we can pray for them, because it's apparent that nothing is else is working to help them.
I have been fearful of a certain person for some months now. When I see this person, my inclination is to either want to ignore them or run the other way. Every encounter with this person is an indictment of my abilities, in her mind, to do my job. Sometimes, I can literally feel her claw marks in my neck and I seriously consider never coming back so as to escape her. She's not in a position of authority, and I think this is part of why her attacks are relentless. In her mind, she has tied being in a leadership position to self-worth, and it's apparent she loathes herself every bit or more than she loathes me and the others whose lives she has made unpleasant.
Yesterday, she did something that really set my blood boiling. It involved a brand new and very vulnerable employee who just started working with us. It's one thing to go after me, but attack one of my little lambs, and it's quite another. After protecting the person and reassuring them that what happened was understandable and not unexpected for a brand-new employee with very little time on the job, I sat down and wrote my boss an email detailing what happened and why she must act, now, to intervene.
The offending person has already caused one person to quit, and another young person with a lot of promise and ability has one foot out the door and the other on a banana peel, so tenuous is this situation on a daily basis. My email was a brief litany of what just happened and a desperate plea for her to get this resolved before another person walks. Then it kind of hit me that of all the things I've done to make this situation better, the one thing I hadn't done yet was pray for this person. Not once.
I prayed about her, for God to protect me from her vicious attacks, but not once had I prayed for her.
I still think my boss needs to do more than she has to correct this problem, but I also realized that the offending person has some deep-rooted issues that are causing her to behave this way. It cannot be pleasant to be who she is right now. Whether or not her behavior is by choice or rooted in some pathology is not for me to say. My obligation is to lift her in prayer.
Whenever I peel off a list of offending personalities to Jesus, His first question is: But what did you do for them?
Good question, Lord. I didn't do what I should have, but I will now.