Now I have an acquaintance that drives me bananas. I talk to them for three minutes and I am ready to choke them out and put them to sleep. The things this person says and does are just unreal. I want to look them in the face and just ask…”Seriously?” However, since I am supposed to love my neighbor I play nice, but to tell you the truth I struggle to find a redeemable quality in this human being. I am so nice and agreeable, but I can’t like them.
I have read that we are supposed to love our neighbors, but does that mean that I have to like them? Recently I posted that question on Facebook and I got a variety of responses from my friends and co-workers. None of those answers coincided with the one I got from the Holy Spirit. After considering what my friends said I went to the source, I read the Bible and I prayed for guidance.
The answer I got was, “Yes”.
Christ commanded us to love our neighbors and our enemies. I know what the Bible says, but how am I supposed to keep that command? Did Christ know about this person when He told us to do that? Did He know how annoying this person was going to be? Did He know that it would take all of my love for Christ just to tolerate this person?
The answer I got was, “Yes”.
Of course, Christ knew about this person and how crazy they were going to make me. That’s why He made it so clear in the scripture that I am to love this person, and pray for my enemy. I am to look at them through the eyes of Christ. This annoying human being is a child of Christ, and despite whatever I may feel, Jesus died for them. As our savior knelt in the garden of Gethsemane this person was in His heart.
So after praying and receiving my answer I struggled with this, for many days, before reaching understanding. The things that drive me so nutso about this person have nothing to do with who they are, who they were, or who they could be. The things that keep me from seeing this person like Christ are all the bad choices they make for themselves that affect other people. The things that they do that hurt me and hurt the people I love. The things that I can’t stand are their sins.
When I was a sinner, Christ looked at me and only saw His beautiful daughter. He saw past all my mistakes and through His love I was saved. Through His mercy I grew in my walk with Jesus and became a servant. I am only clean because Christ shed His blood for me, and this person who annoys me could be too if they knew the grace of salvation through the cross.
Christ wants us to love our neighbors and our enemies as He loves us. He wants us to see the child of God and not the sin, as He did. He wants us to step into that person’s life and show them the love of Jesus, so that they will hear the message of salvation. God wants me to love this person so that they will turn their face to heaven and seek the savior. This person will seek God, receive salvation, and receive the kingdom of heaven.
I suspect that if I were to stop focusing on the sin and start focusing on the human being I would discover a person I CAN like.