How many of you have had one of those moments where you are talking to someone and your insides are cringing, but you have a giant smile plastered on your face?
I hope I’m not alone in this! I’m sure that we all have people that aren’t our cup of tea, or that just make us feel plain old weird.
So, what’s your response? Is it to clench your teeth and get through the encounter with as much ease and grace as possible? Or is it to ignore everyone you dislike? Maybe something in between?
Several months ago, I was having a chat with a dear friend. We were discussing dealing with people that rub you the wrong way. She said that someone else we knew just ignored people she doesn’t like. Basically, because she never wants to be fake, she pretends they don’t exist.
This friend and I agreed on something. We both react the same way to people that we don’t enjoy: we plaster a big ole’ fake smile on our faces while we nod, laugh and pat their arms until we can somehow get out of there without looking like a jerk.
She said, maybe this isn’t the right way to behave, because it’s essentially being fake.
While I wasn’t sure what to say in that moment, a lot of brooding over this made me really think. Is it fake to be kind to someone that I don’t enjoy? Is it deceptive to ask how someone is doing when I’d rather not be talking to them in that moment? Is it more rude to pretend I’m enjoying a conversation, or to pretend that same person didn’t just walk by me?
I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing fake about reaching out to people that ruffle my feathers. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating with someone that I don’t like. There’s nothing wrong with asking how someone is doing, even if we aren’t exceptionally close.
I have a strong personality. Because of this, there are a LOT of people that I don’t enjoy, agree with, or mesh well with. That’s just the way it is. Maybe you’re one of those people in my life.
But the fact of the matter is… I STILL CARE.
Your breath might smell like rotten eggs, but I still care about your marriage struggles.
You might be so opinionated that I sometimes want to slug you…. but I still want to be there when someone you love dies.
You might have the most repulsive attitude and make me so mad at times, but I will always be there when you need help because you are sick, depressed, or financially struggling.
You and I might have completely opposite political opinions, but that doesn’t make me hate you or think you are less of a human being worthy of respect.
You might not like me, or maybe you pretend I don’t exist, but I will always pray for you and extend myself to you every time I see you.
Why?! Because God’s love in me takes those selfish, petty, and downright filthy attitudes inside of me and uses them to gut out my selfishness day by day.
YES, I still have selfish inclinations, thoughts, feelings and attitudes. YES, some people still drive me nuts. YES, sometimes I go on huge rants to my husband or mother about how someone made me furious. YES, sometimes I roll my eyes at someone because I can’t believe what they just did or said. YES, I think some people are nuts and totally disagree with their opinions.
Thank goodness for God’s gracious, miraculous, life-changing LOVE!
Because of the love he has extended to me IN SPITE of my filthy, nasty, degrading thoughts and attitudes…. because of the love he shows me when I never ever deserved it.… HOW MUCH MORE do I need to show others that love!
It doesn’t matter a single lick what political stance you take, what clothes you wear, how much money you put in the bank every month, or how much you smell.
YOU ARE GOD’S CHILD just as much as I am, which makes you 10000% deserving of his everlasting love.
I am forever thankful for those who chose to never give up on me; those who chose to love me throughout my sin, my selfishness, and my deepest regrets and pain. Because of the love and mercy a handful of people extended to me during my worst times, I only hope that I can do the same for others!
Therefore, there is no fake. My opinion isn’t part of the equation. My extension of love towards you is every bit of genuine as it can be. God is love, and if I don’t love others (despite my opinions/attitudes), how can I even call myself a Christian?
1 Peter 4:8
“Above all, love each other DEEPLY, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”