“Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling.”
~1 John 2:10 (NRSV).
Difficult people surround us everywhere. Indeed, for some others, we are those same difficult people. If that sticks in your throat, jump into their underwear for a moment. Feel their perspective.
We’re all difficult people for someone.
But we have difficult people we contend with; that’s why you’re here reading this, right?
Where Love Produces Truth
The Apostle John’s argument is the gospel reality: those who don’t act in love, but profess faith, are liars.
Because we’re all given to fail at love — which is, simplistically, the lack of toleration of people — we’re all, of a sense, liars. The good news is we have an Advocate in Jesus, that though we’re liars, we’re true in our Lord. Our bloodguilt is borne on the cross.
Positively, when we do love — choosing to live in the light — we bless those we love in our tolerance; we cause them not to stumble. This is because love is no barrier; only hate, dissidence and irreconcilable conflict creates barriers and, ultimately, hurt.
As truth is a smooth, clear flow, so is love. Love acts prove believers true to their belief, but arguments (failures to love) prove us liars.
The Opportunist Challenge Difficult People Provide
Because none of us are perfect we’re difficult for others, despite how mature (or otherwise) we are.
The person at our workplace, in our peer group, community, church, or family who’s trying our tolerance probably has the same issues with us — just the mirror perspective. We barely tolerate them, but they think we’re hard to please. Both of us are unloving.
Hate begets hate as love begets love. There’s a loose cause-and-effect arrangement at play, but tighter in truth than we think.
If we’ll be the opportunist — and let’s face it, there are no shortage of opportunities! — we can now enjoy the challenge of loving difficult people anyway, as we acknowledge that, yes, for some, and in certain situations, we too are difficult people. We can sympathise with them; they with us.
Besides all this, if we truly believe in God, following the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39) of the Bible to the best of our abilities, we’ll seek to live the truth — that is to love... any way.
It’s easy to love those we get along with; there’s no maturity proven in that.
For the difficult person or situation, let’s love anyway, no matter the degree of barrier or past hurt present.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.