I love people!! All kinds of people! Red and yellow black or white they are precious in my sight. I love short people, tall people, skinny people, fat people, smart people, less than smart people, pretty people, those who’s looks are less than desirable, rich people poor people, people in jail and those who should be, but are not in jail. I love smart alecks, sarcastic people, mentally ill people, bossy people, drug addicts, prostitutes, and pretty much all other criminals. I LOVE people! But, I have to be really honest with y’all. There’s a person in my life with whom I’m seriously struggling with loving!
Matthew 5:43-47 says “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
But this person bugs the fire out of me! In fact, if I wouldn’t go to jail (because that would probably ruin my chances of continuing in the jail ministry) I’d go to their house, rip them a new one and punch them square in the mouth! There, I said it! It’s hard for me to admit that someone gets under my skin like that. I’M LOVING DANG IT!
Reading the above verse gave me a spiritual butt kickin’. We’re not supposed to pick and chose who, or which kind of people we get to love. We don’t have to like how they are, and we can set boundaries (really wide ones). We can fantasize about shoving them off a very rugged cliff, and picture their body bouncing to the bottom never to be seen again. No, we really shouldn’t do that last one, that’s a horrible thing and I apologize. Besides, I was joking. Sort of.
Seriously, we have to treat those people with love. That doesn’t mean you have to allow them to hurt you or invite them over for dinner; it just means don’t wish harm to them or be mean to them, and most importantly, we should pray for them.
Therein lies the problem. I’m having a hard time praying for this person because I really don’t like them. I don’t like the way they treat me, or even the way they treat others. I need prayers to help me know how to deal with this person, but mostly I need prayers to help me see this person through God’s eyes. I really want to look at people the way He does. Holy moly, some people certainly do make that difficult!
I’m certain that, at some point (most likely many points) in my life, I’ve been that person someone was fantasizing of shoving over a cliff. Thankfully, God was watching out for me. I know He’s watching over this person too, because He loves us all the same. Always.