Learning to love those who don't love you

I have been thinking a great deal lately about a time many many moons ago when I was given the stewardship to be a visiting teacher for someone who HATED me.  I have written about it here before.  
Man, that was a tough time.

I look back on it lately and realize how much I learned from that experience.  

I prayed many many months during that two year period, pleading with Heavenly Father to give me the okay to go to the Relief Society President or the Bishop (who happened to be Brent) and ask to be reassigned to someone else.  It didn't make sense to me that I would be asked to take a spiritual though teach month to someone who would never be able to learn anything from me.  The ire I felt from her each time I entered her home was palpable.  Time and time again the answer was the same, "no, you need to remain her visiting teacher".  

During that time I had to soften my heart and get creative about ways to serve her.  She would NEVER have let me serve her willingly.  I had to do things anonymously or serve her indirectly in ways that would benefit her family.  I prayed for a better understanding of her and asked for the Lord to help me see her as he saw her. 

In time he did and the hurt I felt for her dissipated and was replaced with charity.  

I am so grateful for that experience and for the lesson he taught me that I was capable of loving those who don't love me.  

I love this passage of scripture from Matthew 5:

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;...
 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
He certainly knew what was best for me all those years ago.  Because I lean on that experience every so often.  Occasionally I come across another person every now and again that isn't very kind or loving to me and I tell myself, "I did this before, I can do it again."  
It really feels so much better to feel loving toward everyone than it does to give into contention and hatefulness.
I'm so grateful for that experience, for that lesson.  


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