When a grain of sand enters the shell of the oyster it causes an irritation. To deal with it the oyster produces a substance to cover the irritant and amazingly, eventually a pearl is produced from the substance secreted over the irritation. Thus the oyster gives mankind a lesson in how to turn a negative in to a positive!
A brother was experiencing great irritation from an unruly neighbour who constantly flicked his cigarette butts over his fence to land on his doorstep. The brother spent some time thinking up schemes to collect the butts and return them to the neighbour to get his revenge and return the annoyance……BUT GOD……the Lord interrupted his unruly thoughts and impressed on him to speak a blessing over his neighbour every time he found a cigarette butt on his doorstep, instead of being irritated and plotting revenge.
Feeling convicted, the brother began to call out a blessing on the “offender of the doorstep” every time he found a butt there. In the process of time, he discovered that the problem no longer irritated him and he looked forward to blessing his neighbour. (Jesus on the inside, working on the outside – a line of a song comes to mind!) Even more amazing, the butt flicking eventually stopped altogether!
So then, the Lord works with us to “love our neighbours as ourselves,” and when we have learnt to do that, then the Lord will move us on to the next lesson – learning to love our enemies!