Sometimes people just annoy you. They scratch their head the wrong way, they don't agree with your opinion on frozen dairy products, they can't see your side of the story, or they're just plain rude to you.
Every time someone bothers me like this, I think something along the lines of, I'm going to be sent to hell because I can't stand Sara and the way she treats me. Or, Dear God, please grant me the patience to withstand Emily and her constant whining today.
As mentioned in my previous post, this summer I'm reading the New Testament. In the Gospels, we are constantly commanded to love everyone. Over time, I grew stressed reading this over and over again, thinking that if I wasn't happy with everyone in my life and treating them like kings and queens, I was doing wrong.
On my last day of work, the kids I nanny were bickering in my back seat and I asked them to stop fighting.
"She started it!" the boy screamed.
"I don't care who started it, you're brother and sister and you should love each other even when the other does you wrong."
That was partly when I realized that you don't have to like someone in the moment to show them love. Sometimes, showing love can simply mean turning the other cheek when someone is angry at you. It can mean offering patience and respect. Most of all, it means not screaming at someone else just because they provoked you.
But these two are brother and sister, I thought, they have to love each other.
And another thought dawned on me. Under God's roof, we're all brothers and sisters in Christ. And I don't know about you, but I'm not always 100% happy with my annoying little brother or bigger older brother. But I would lay down my life for them all the same, just like Jesus did for us.
Here's something I never realized as a Christian: I'm allowed to not like people. That's right. I'm allowed to be disappointed, sad, and angry with people who I don't jive with. I should still be praying for patience with Emily, but I'm allowed to not like the way she whines about every little thing.
Tonight, I stumbled upon this article on loving people you don't like. My thought process on this topic has become a lot clearer since. To sum it up: everyone has people they don't like; even Jesus did. We are allowed to dislike people and still show them love, because agape love (the love that god shows us) is an action, not a feeling. That's why being patient with Emily (action, or rather the suppression of a negative reaction) is much more important than my feelings of annoyance toward her. That's why the older brother showing kindness to his sister is more important than his feelings of anger toward her when she poked him.
Agape love: action, what Jesus showed us when he died for us.
Phileo love: feeling, a love between friends.
At this point I realized that I won't be sent to hell for not liking someone. We can be justified in not liking people, but we must show them love still.
Here are some simple ways in which you can show everyone love, even those you don't like:
1. Pray for others. Pray for their health and happiness, their family and friends. If you know they're struggling, reach out to God through prayer for them.
2. Be kind to others. Smile at strangers, at the girl in your physics lecture who bothers you, at the cute boy you have a crush on. Use kind words instead of sarcastic or angry ones.
3. Help out. Whether it be in your community or in the household, show others love by giving them help.
4. Forgive. The more you forgive as our Father forgives us every day, the less grudges you will hold, and the less your feelings for this person will bother you.
The more you show God's love in your life, the more you will feel God's love in your life. So reach out to that person in need, forgive the person you're angry at, pray for everyone, and always be kind. Share God's work through your actions and the world will be a better place.
Thanks for reading! Have a blessed week,