Many days, I struggle with not liking people very much.
I know, not very Christian-like, but true.
I've experienced days where from start to finish people have irritated me, rubbed me the wrong way, offended me or just plain showed me their true colors.
The day might start with getting cut off in traffic, someone rudely taking my parking space, a co-worker dumping a project on me at the last minute, or simply watching the news or social media and seeing all the ridiculousness in the world. I immediately react with negative thoughts and disdain.
On those days, the world swirls around me filled with selfishness, entitlement, disrespect, rudeness, superiority complexes, discrimination, judgments, assumptions and plain foolishness. To the point, I want to throw my hands up and scream "Calgon take me away."
Instead of soaking in a bathtub filled with bubbles, I dream of being whisked away to a deserted tropical island. Much like Tom Hanks, on Cast Away (minus the terrible plane crash) where I can escape the insanity of people and soak in the solitude. A volleyball head named "Wilson" sounds like a good companion to me!
Maybe I react this way because of my sinful nature, or maybe because of my sensitive, introverted personality? Mixture of both?
Whatever the reason, I know deep down this is NOT how Christ would react and therefore, it is a weakness that I need to work on correcting.
Accordingly, I force myself to revisit my ABCs. (With a twist.)
Stopping and remembering that God is the creator of ALL things, including those that cause me pain and irritation. To recognize that we are made in His image, and we were made to be in relationship with one another. When I criticize His creation, then I criticize the Creator! Instead, I need to glorify God and give thanks for ALL of His creation.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” ~Genesis 1:27
Remember we are His beloved. If God lovingly created mankind in His image; and cares deeply for His beloved creation then who am I to berate them? Thus, my reaction should be grace, compassion, and love, which does not always come naturally.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” ~Colossians 3:12
Turning my exasperations over to God through prayer, confessing my negative feelings and asking for forgiveness.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” ~ 1 John 1:9
Prayer can bring about personal change when you ask the Holy Spirit to give you a heart filled with patience, grace, and forgiveness. Asking for the tools necessary to meet the next round of chaos and foolishness with a new response.
When I pray, it may seem that I am narrowing my world, retreating from the real world into a prayer closet in Jesus’ metaphor. Actually, I am entering another world, just as real but invisible, a world that has power to change both me and the world I seem to be retreating from. Philip Yancey, Prayer, Does it Make a Difference?
When you've had your fill with those around you.....
Instead of reacting or running away- RETREAT TO GOD.
He has the power to change both us and the world!
Father, thank you that you are so quick to forgive us when we sin against you and your creation. Fill us with your peace, love, and compassion to enable us to view others through your lens of love. Despite all the foolishness and turmoil in this world, help us, Father, to rise above it and respond in a manner that is honoring to you. May we always run to you when we need refuge and renewal.
“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” ~ 1 Peter 3:8-9