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We all want good relationships. Even those people that are extremely bad at relationships. You know the ones you want to run away from when they come around. I have learned that the people you avoid, that avoid you, or get on your last nerve, turn out to be the greatest asset to your personal growth.
We all have had those moments where we have wanted to run away from people. When I was in seminary, I met a person I truly didn’t care for. I can’t tell you today why I didn’t like her, but I just didn’t. Our dislike of one another ran deep. Our professor asked us to write three names on a paper, two people you wanted to be in a group with and one you did not want to be in group with. Months later we both discovered that we wrote each other’s name down as the person we did not want to be in a group with.
Needless to say, I did not like her and she didn’t like me. We both had a fatal flaw. We judged the book by its cover. Our dislike of one another was purely based on personality. The problem was that neither of us understood how divinely connected we were. God was intentionlly using our location, professor and calling to set us up for a divine connection. This sister that I did not like ended up being the connection to the local church that I have been at for the last seven years. She was the sister that exposed my character issues. She was the sister that planned my wedding. She is also the sister who I now am able to confide in.
Often, we miss what God is doing due to our outward senses. If we would have allowed our personality differences to keep us from learning more about one another, we would have robbed ourselves of a great and growing relationship. The most important relationships are worth working on. I am sure you have someone in your life that you don’t quite care for at this moment, whether it’s a spouse, roommmate, friend, co-worker, client or sibling. I am here to suggest that those relationships that cause you the most pain and suffering are often the relationships that show you where you need help from God.
I was prideful, arrogant, agressive, conceided, and I needed help. I am sure that not all the people who rub you the wrong way will become your friend, but I am sure that God will use every ounce of the relationship to work the fruits of the Spirit in you. The Bible doesn’t say, “If you like a person be kind to them”. Jesus modeled for us our need to love our enemies and love others as ourselves.
We are called to lead with our lives by being light. We can’t be light while allowing our likes and dislikes to be our motivation for developing healthy relationships with others. Today, I encourage you to turn the mirror around from the other person to you. If you are struggling with caring for another, think of all the reasons that you can care for them instead of all the reasons that you dislike them. I promise you it will be well worth it.