Monday, January 22, 2007

Do I have to love everybody?

Yesterday our preacher’s message was that as a Christian you don’t have to like everybody, but you do have to love them. I understand that notion and try REALLY hard to do that, but boy, is it tough with some folks. I really struggle with this one. I am idealistic, impatient and not very good at seeing my own faults. I also have a terrible time keeping my opinions to myself.
As I ponder the people I don’t like, I realize that most of them are bitter people. I hate being around bitter people. They zap my energy. Yet, I do reserve the right to have my own hostile moments. Who wouldn’t want to hear me gripe, right? I always wonder what has happened in their lives to make them that way. Were they abused as a child? Disappointed as adults? Often, they seem to have self esteem issues. It’s easier for them to feel better about themselves if they tear down others. A couple of the most chronically grouchy people I know go to my church. Are they not learning anything while they’re there? Or perhaps, it’s deeper than that. Perhaps, there are things going on in their lives that are so painful and hard that it’s difficult for them to be anything but grumpy. Perhaps, I’m too hasty in my judgment of them and too impatient with their quirks. After all, I expect patience with my eccentricities. Perhaps, they WOULD be nicer if someone consistently showed them love instead of a passing nod. And maybe, just maybe, I should have added a sincere,” How are you feeling?” to the lady I opened the door for yesterday instead of grumbling all the way to the car that she didn’t say “thank you” when I held the door. Whew! This loving your neighbor thing is hard work.

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