Every time I watch Patch Adams, I am reminded that even the friendliest of dispositions will be challenged by difficult people. Patch’s circle included a jealous roommate, a jaded female interest, and an enraged patient. While I realize these three had to be won over to accentuate the story, there is a lesson for all of us to learn.
You do not have to work with people for very long before you find someone that just seems to be impossible to work with.
Typically, abrasive people are avoided, ignored, fired, demoted, or isolated, but rarely are they helped. Some of the best advice that I have ever received in life and ministry was simply this:
Determine to love every person like God loves you.
Romans 5:8 tells us that God showed his love toward us even when we were living as His enemies.
Next to loving God, Christ tells us that loving others as we love ourselves is our greatest responsibility. We have both opportunity and obligation to love difficult people.
This means strange people, stinky people, angry people, immature people, lying people, hurtful people, manipulative people, lazy people, arrogant people, passive people, irresponsible people, frustrating people, and any other kind of people you do not naturally connect with. In doing so, you are showing them the love of Christ.
Many people have never experienced the unspeakable joy that comes with unmerited, unconditional love. If the saying is true that “Hurting people hurt people,” then those who hurt are probably hurting on the inside. Perhaps God will use you to heal that wound.
The next time you are confronted by that person that frustrates you or the guy with the short temper, remember that this is a person God has picked for you to love. Through faithfully loving them, both of your lives might be changed.
What kind of people do you struggle to love?