Love Your Enemies, Sure–But What About the Annoying People?

LoveIt’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.”

12 thoughts on “Love Your Enemies, Sure–But What About the Annoying People?

  1. My first thought was “She’s preparing her poor self, that’s it. I’m ALREADY annoying!!!”
    So I’m either self absorbed and annoying, or *just* self absorbed.
    And paranoid.
    And nervous.

    Oh, look, maybe I should take away the Biblical lesson!?!?!

    There’s an idea…

  2. Oh my, this couldn’t possibly be more relevant to my day…haha! There’s someone I come into contact with most days fo the week who, let’s just say, was probably never meant to be my best friend. I hate to even admit it, but it’s true…she grates on my nerves and I’m sure I grate on hers. BUT I’ve had several reminders lately–mostly from my parents, but now from you, too–that showing Christ-like love isn’t just “tolerating” other people…it’s actually choosing to love them and making an effort to act on that love. So…I will try this week. 🙂

  3. I guess I’m not quite there yet, in holiness. I’m cool with people who don’t like me, but harm a member of my family and one might prefer never to have been born.

    And there are those who do the unspeakable to the innocent, and personally – well, “reach out an touch someone” when applied to those who torment kids and animals doesn’t mean a phone call.

    It would be easily self-serving to separate terminating their actions and forgiveness – kill them, but in a forgiving manner – but it would be dishonest. I’m pretty dispassionate – but not to that degree.

    Maybe God gave us annoying people as a place to start practicing forgiveness. Maybe grace has to grown and nurtured, like a mustard seed we plant.

  4. You are so right! I know what you mean about feeling “noble” about loving your enemies but then there are those people who simply get on our nerves…but we are supposed to love them too!

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