We all know we’re supposed to see Christ in everyone, but with some people that’s a tall order. We all have someone—or several “someones”—in our lives who make it very difficult indeed to follow Jesus’ gospel admonitions to love our neighbors as ourselves. What are we to do?
- Take God’s perspective. Don’t treat people the way they treat you; treat them the way God treats you. One of God’s most noticeable characteristics is that he loves everyone the same. If he can do that for everyone, then surely you can do it for someone.
- Lower your expectations. If you enter into anything—a relationship, a conversation, or anything in between—with certain expectations of how the other person is going to behave, then you will be disappointed. You have the right to expect a certain level of behavior from yourself; not from them.
- Don’t give up. Remember that God never gives up on us, no matter how many times we disappoint, no matter how many promises we break, no matter how bad our behavior. When people understand that you’re not giving up on them, it can help them change.
Scripture tells is there’s nothing we can do that will separate us from God’s love. Nothing. As Christians, we are called to reflect that love to all of humanity. It’s not impressive to love people who are easy to love; the work of loving people who think differently from us, who push us away, who do things of which we don’t approve—that’s the work we are called to do.