A woman from Texas kept having her car vandalized. At first she discovered dents in the side. Then it was “keyed.” Someone ran their car key down the length of the vehicle ruining her paint job. So she had it fixed.
And then it happened again!
After an all-night stakeout she discovered that the culprit was someone on her own street!
She was furious. She wanted to ring the guy’s neck! But she knew that wasn’t a good idea. She worshiped at a little episcopal church and knew the verse in Romans 12:21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
So the next day she got up, took a few deep breaths, and baked an incredible double-decker chocolate cake. Then she delivered it to her guilty neighbour. “I baked this and thought you’d enjoy it, so here you go. God’s been good to me and I just wanted to pass it on.” Then she left.
When you study the biblical stories here’s what you find: Love is a decision; hostility is a reaction. Too often we think loving someone is the same as liking them. But it’s not. Loving someone has to do with recognizing that they are made in God’s image and seeking God’s best for them.
You may not like them, and you may not agree with every decision they’ve ever made, but you can still do your best to love them.
So when you’re dealing with difficult people, what do you do? Do you make decisions about how to respond? Or do you make reactions?
When we humans are all charged up about something we’re usually not thinking very clearly. So what I’ve found in those situations is that the most faithful way forward it to take some time, pray, and act in a way that honours God.
Love is a decision. Hostility is a reaction.
By Matthew Ruttan
- Today’s “Up!” is based on Part 2 in our current series at Westminster called “Clench – How to love people you just don’t like.” You can listen to the full podcast here. Enjoy!