There are days when I love those around me so much I can hardly contain my joy. And then there are days I could lock them all in a dark room and forget about them! Why is it that God has given us all individual personalities that connect and repel those we come in contact with, and then tell us we have to love everyone around us as Jesus loves them?
As an individual this is a tricky thing to do as I like some people so much more than others. As a minister, this a constant area of angst as it seems I spend so much reminding people over and over to treat each other with love and respect. It shouldn’t be this exhausting to work with God’s children!
So how do we balance our individual personalities with the command from God to love our neighbor as ourselves? How do I love that person I just don’t like? If God was really human, he wouldn’t have made that commandment because he would know we couldn’t keep it….or can we?
Our problem is we confuse loving each other with liking each other. I may not be able to be all warm and fuzzy with some people, but I can want them to be right with God. I can show them love and respect as a fellow child of God no matter how well I get along with them or not. I can worship next to them because we have a common savior that is bigger than our personality clash. I can wish them well in life because God wants me to and that is more important than my petty issues.
The world often looks at the church and get disgusted with the hate that comes out of “Christians”. To be honest, I don’t blame them! I blame us for failing to live as God has told us to live. I am supposed to love my neighbor, I am supposed to heap burning coals on my enemy’s head by treating them respectfully. I am supposed to live in such a way that outsiders can’t really say bad things about me and it stick because my love and life show a different picture to people I come in contact with.
Can you imagine what would happen if Christians treated each other like Christ wants us to? Can you imagine the shock the world would have if we would show we disagree with them but do so in a loving way? Why, we could change the world! Oh wait, that’s exactly what Jesus told us to do. My bad.
Let’s start in our church building and focus on loving our brothers and sisters in our own congregation. Who knows, if we both love each other as Jesus tells us to do, we might start even liking each other a little more?
What do you think?