Difficult People Are In Your Life for a Reason

I am becoming more and more convinced that the trials and struggles that we face in life, including the hurts and wounds and the people that we find hard to love, are all there for a reason. Perhaps the situations that we try to avoid are exactly what we need to grow up in Christ? Maybe, just maybe, the people we are trying to get away from or we don't want relationships with, are people that God brings into our life to teach us patience, long suffering, what it means to forgive, and how we are to love unconditionally.
1 John 3 & 4 tells us that if we love God, then we will and we should love people as well. But, we often don't. Perhaps we are pleasant enough with others, but we often just try to avoid people who are different from us or who do not affirm us or who are difficult. But, what if those people – the people who frustrate you and who you don't understand are in your life to serve as an object upon which the life of God can pour out of you? What if they are there so that you can exercise patience and compassion? So that you can fight for their hearts? So you can forgive? So you can demonstrate Jesus?
What if we've had it all wrong regarding relationships and "safe" people? What if the goal is not escape but it is engagement? Perhaps our sin is not what is most true about us, but we are all made in the Image of God and there is something worth blessing and recovering in each of us and it only happens when we bump up against one another and love sacrificially.
That is how Jesus is with us. Why aren't we that way with others?
If we applied this view to our marriages, our churches, and our relationships and communities, maybe we would stop running away and start settling down with people for the long haul.

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