She is so mean-spirited, so grumpy. He is so argumentative. She is so condemning and belligerent. He is so negative and irritating. She is annoying and rude. The list goes on and on. There are people in our lives who drive us nuts. There are those who are so self-righteous that we cringe when we hear their names. There are those who see all the faults in others and have no problem voicing their disdain with blunt disregard to another’s feelings or the damage to those around them. There are those who treat us unfairly, who criticize us unduly, and never once have any good to say about anyone other than themselves and an inner circle of friends. What do we do with them?
“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:44-48
This is so hard to do. Our very self-protection mechanism goes against the grain of treating folks with love who treat us with hate. Our Lord calls us, tells us to love our enemies, and to pray for them. We say, “Maybe I can pray for them, but love them?” That is tough. It goes against our nature. And I am guessing the Lord knew that quite well when He probed me to think beyond my self-interest. “…what are you doing more than others?” If all I do in my walk with the Lord is treat my friends, family and strangers kindly who treat me kindly, then what am I “doing more than others”?
Our spirit wars with our flesh to do more than others. Our spirit tests us and brings us to our knees of humility and grace. We are no better than another. Our righteousness is not ours. It is in Christ. Who are we to condemn another? Who are we to withhold kindness and civility just because another withholds it from us? Who are we to cry hypocrite when we point our fingers at another?
PRAYER: Lord, give us hearts as Yours. Help us treat others as You do. Let us sacrifice ourselves, our pride, to become humble and loving as You when we are persecuted or mistreated. Help us look beyond the exterior gruffness and sinfulness of others and bow to You in loving them.