I cannot stand the girl that sits next to me at work. I loathed her much from afar, so when I saw her relocating beside me, my disdain for her existence unequivocally multiplied within me. To protect her identity, we’ll just call her “Mya.”
For starters, Mya is unreasonably loud and unprofessional—embodying the full meaning of the urban colloquial term, “ratchet.” Being the reserved and refined individual that I am, she clearly brings an air of dissonance to the equilibrium I exude. She’s also quite in love with the fact that she is out of shape; overweight; and a junk food addict. Personally, I deem this disease-like condition nothing to be proud of. Combined with her foul language, smoking habit, and a myriad of other vices, I can confidently say that there is nothing I like, or will ever appreciate about Mya.
Taking a pause, the fact that I can become so incensed with the mere thought of another human being does call for some major introspection.
In the past, I have brandished the most boisterous of voices, proclaiming that all are beautiful image-bearers of God, each displaying a unique, never-before-seen attribute of the Father. Conveniently now, when one of those “image-bearers” clashes with my personal preferences, my theology is nowhere to be found.
The pride in me mimics Lucifer’s failed coup on God’s throne. I am the one that wants to ascend above the clouds to the highest place of judgment. I want people to conform to the likeness and image that I predestined for them in my own wisdom. When it comes down to it, I just want God’s job.
It just got real. Showing love to those who are cool with me is easy. Everyone does that. But that can’t be the extent of my love. That couldn’t possibly differentiate me from an unbeliever. Jesus calls me to love my enemies. I know that I always imagined an enemy being someone that declared war against me for the sake of the gospel. Living that way makes it easy to love the “enemies” that the average American will never have. Jesus though, is commanding me to love the ones that irk me and insidiously get deep under my skin. Love them.
I tried it. I brought her a snack. She inspected it like it was poisoned. I tried to strike up a conversation with her on another occasion. That bombed as well. It seems like the more that I try to be nice, the worse I look.
Funny. God always has a way of requiring the impossible. Maybe this is what the scripture calls for when it says to “die” to selfish motives. Perhaps loving Mya and others like her is something that will only happen when there’s less of my stifling personality and more of Christ’s love permeating through me.
Since I am the only one that struggles with this, I won’t challenge every believer to let Christ explode from their cracked frames, with His love reaching those that we won’t go out and reach ourselves. I’ll just ask that the church pray for me. I need Jesus the most.