I’ve wanted to write about a certain topic and life lesson God taught me for quite a while now. However, I haven’t for so long because I thought I needed to read a book I saw in Barnes and Noble to reiterate what I’ve learned from my life experiences.
Then, I recently realized, if I still want to write about this months later, I don’t need a psychology book to back me up. The reason why I wanted to write about it in the first place was because of my life. Nothing else. All this to say, I am not holding back anymore.
In the past year, God has taught me the power of loving people for who they are and where they are in life. He has taught me the power of being at peace with the difficult people in your life. I mean to say, the people you may have trouble loving with a Godly love because of something they may have said or done to hurt you, or simply because your personalities don’t mesh well.
I know the description of people may sound harsh and cold, but it is true. We all have people in our lives we wish could be different. People who we wish could love us more or love us differently. Or people we wish would see that what they say or do is hurtful. Or people we wish would shower us with the same grace we shower them.
It is inevitable in this world because we are all fallible, sinful human beings. If we loved everyone with a deep love instantly, without any form of negative feelings, we wouldn’t need God.
Knowing God does not make loving difficult people easier. It does not make all the difficult people in our lives bearable. Knowing God causes our hearts to change, not the people whom we want to change. I realized the only way I was going to love the difficult in my life for who they are is to change my heart attitude towards them.
Ultimately, a dislike or love of an individual lies in the heart. Everything about us flows from our heart—whether it is a heart that knows Jesus Christ personally or not. No one else is to blame. Yes, difficult people will probably always remain difficult. It is our attitude towards them that can change.
Changing one’s heart attitude does not mean completing letting go of all the reasons why the person may be difficult. It means realizes you cannot change him or her, only God and His mighty work and power can. Only God can create a new heart in someone. Only God can ultimately cause someone’s heart to be so moved that he or she wants to take the lifelong journey of striving to be more like Him.
Difficult people will inevitably be extra difficult if we believe they will change or if we walk into a situation with unreachable expectations. Loving difficult people means walking into a situation with them with honest eyes and ears. Sometimes, learning to love the difficult people in our lives means accepting they may always be that way and that praying for them to change will only make the root problem worse.
My call to you is simple: Love with an honest love. Love from a distance, if you must. Love people for who they are, not whom you want him or her to be. Pray that God may renew your heart and help you see those difficult people in your life as God sees them.
Trust me, you will begin to feel a sense of peace you have never felt or known in this regard. You will begin to understand that changing people is out of your control, but allowing God to change your heart is not.