Love Your Enemies, Sure–But What About the Annoying People?
It’s clear. As Christians we are meant to love our enemies. To pray for those who wish us ill. And yes, it’s often hard to do. But it’s something I’m aware of. Something I’m working on. I’ve included several individuals on my prayer list who weren’t, well, on my top ten favorite people list.
But this past weekend as I breathed a sigh of relief when the grocery story employee who kind of gets on my nerves wasn’t in the usual spot, something occurred to me. I’m supposed to love the people who bug me, too. You know. The people who haven’t really done anything to me. They’re not my enemies.
But maybe they talk a little too long. Maybe they drive a little too slow. Maybe they laugh when nothing is funny or ask awkward questions. Maybe they just get on my nerves for no reason I can pinpoint. You know who I’m talking about.
We’re meant to love them, too.
And in some ways, this is even harder than loving my enemies. I can feel noble about loving my enemies. I can see it as an exercise in holiness. And they’re my enemies. It’s not like they want to hang out. But tolerating people who just grate on me? Man, that takes work. It takes time and effort.
Which maybe makes it even more important. So that’s what I’m going to work on over the next few weeks. Loving those people who don’t really do me any good. Who don’t really do me any harm. But who bug me. I’m going to love them.
Matthew 5:42-48 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children 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 own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”