Are there vampires among us?

In Eastern European folklore, vampires were known to arise from the dead and disturb the living until they were either impaled or burned – a gruesome definition at best, but are they still among us? Are they lurking around the corners, hiding in bushes, living in Seattle (as the popular Twilight series suggests), waiting to pounce on unsuspecting victims?

I think not but a deviation of such does walk among us. Those energy suckers, negative proclaimers, angry, grumpy individuals with whom we work, walk the streets, sit in the stands with at ball games, or drive on the freeways beside. Those people who want nothing more than to take the chirp out of our song. They may be the person who wakes beside us in the morning or joins us at the breakfast table.  Have you ever noticed how one ill-minded, mad-at-the-world, feet-stomping individual can ruin the entire day just by opening his or her mouth? With self-evaluation, on some days, it may just be the person who glares back at us in our mirrors.

We all need to be loved and respected. There is an innate desire within each of us to feel valued and appreciated by those around us. If only we could choose who loved us,  valued us, and respected us, the world could glow with positive expression,  but that’s not the way it works. Even those we care for the most can, like a vampire, drain our enthusiasm and weaken our zest for life. We, ourselves, may be the vampires in the lives of those around us.  I have come to realize through the trials of my own life that it is an impossible – no matter what you do – no getting around it –  task to make other people love us.  Often, the harder we try, the more damage we do to our hearts because the rejection stirs our inner-self to wonder, “What about me is not lovable or valuable to you?”

We all want to hear, as Billy Joel sang, “Don’t go changing to try and please meI could not love you, any better. I love you just the way you are..” The reality weighs heavy, we cannot control the hearts of others, but we can control our own.

I grew up with 3 siblings, 2 sisters and a brother. One day we loved each other, the next we were plotting enemy frontline strategies to take one another out. Sibling rivalry can be brutal but also a natural part of development. It is how we learn to negotiate, compromise, humble ourselves, and surrender. God, as our Father, understands that we, as brothers and sisters, will disagree. From those disagreements and conflicts, we will learn to live together. The key is “how” we handle them which matters most to God.

Ecclesiastes 7:21-22, “Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.”

People can be self-absorbed, inconsiderate, unloving, and degrading. It is arguable, but many think such behavior is learned – on the contrary. Those emotions have been with us since the day we were born. I never taught my toddlers to say, “MINE!” But I spent a great deal of time singing the “We Share” song. I didn’t teach my children to hit, bite, or pinch. But I spent a great deal of time monitoring the “Time Out” corner as punishment for such behaviors.

As adults, we need to understand God’s instruction in our dealings with others. The enemy of our souls wants nothing more than to penetrate our relationships with others and divide the Kingdom of God.

John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

The next time a vampire creeps up behind you, ask God to deal with them. Praise Him that He created those around you. Marvel in His Handy Work. Give others the grace God gives to us daily. God is the Healer – the Restorer. As Peter writes in 1 Peter 3: 8-9, “We must learn to treat others with compassion by keeping our own hearts tender, and not allow ourselves to ‘return evil for evil’.”

When I deal with vampires, I simply communicate a prayer to God stating, “I know that you have a purpose for that person just as you have for me. What it is, I can’t imagine, but nevertheless, help me to love them as I know You love me. ”



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