Life is full of people that are difficult to like. Fortunately, they are not the majority, but they certainly still make plenty of appearances. These folks annoy us, criticize us, exasperate us and rub us the wrong way.
No, I am not talking about our children.
Although I am not immune to difficult people, the older I get the less these-hard-to-like people bother me. I guess I have been tempered enough by God’s Holy Spirit to recognize that everyone has value in Him. And, remarkably, there may be people in this world who have some slight genetic abnormality and are just not able to appreciate my overall likability.
There are a lot of things I am tempted to share right now that prove how incredibly likable I am compared to the folks who truly are hard to get along with, but it’s probably best that I don’t.
Another sign of maturity. (I serve a very patient God.)
And, to be honest, it really doesn’t matter. Life isn’t all sunshine and roses. I mean, even Little House on the Prairie had its Nellie Oleson.
Who is your Nellie Oleson? Who makes your fist clench, your shoulders tense and your eyes sting? Who makes you want to walk out of a room when you see them walk in? Who makes you want to say ugly things to others just to prove how unlikable they are?
Who makes you become someone you would find it hard to like?
I’m married to a counselor (yes, I’ll accept your looks of pity and compassionate sighs), and my counselor has taught me that life is all about choices. We choose to be who we are. We may not always be able to choose our circumstances, but we are always able to choose our responses within those circumstances.
We are leaving a legacy, and that legacy affects more people than we dream it will affect. Our children learn how to love their spouses, their in-laws, their authority figures, their peers, their neighbors and even their parents by the examples we set. Life is sometimes harder than we wish it was, but we can certainly choose to make it more pleasant than it has to be by choosing love, choosing kindness and choosing forgiveness.
Challenge: Spend five minutes on your knees in prayer today for one of your life’s Nellie Olesons. Ask God to help you to see them the way He sees them. It is life-changing. Honest.