Leaders will encounter all sorts of people. Some people will be what we can call "sandpaper people" because they are abrasive or there is something about them that rubs us the wrong way or irritates us. As leaders, we need to break through with the love of Christ even with the unlovable, hard to deal with, kind of people.
Selectivity of those with whom we are willing to extend value and worth leads to a break in unity. God, however, can bring unity out of diversity. He began the church with two groups of people who despised each other and would not have selected each other to associate with albeit become one with each other. (Eph. 2:13-22).
Body life is about loving one another as He loves. Remember Jesus' words in Matthew 5:43-48.
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?God knew we would encounter people different from us, those whom we would find hard to serve or work alongside. Only His love at work in and through us will enable us do our part in aiming toward true unity within the Body, the kind that says all people matter to God and therefore are loved and valued by us as well.
Think of 1 Corinthians 13. --
- If you weren't going to face people who frustrate you, you wouldn't need to be patient.
- If you weren't going to face people who annoy you, you wouldn't need to be kind.
- If you weren't going to face people who flaunt their abilities or resources, you wouldn't be told not to envy.
- If you weren't going to face people who get you on your defensive, you wouldn't be told not to boast.
- If you weren't going to face people who threaten your image, you wouldn't be told not to be proud.
- If you weren't going to face people who you want to put in their place, you wouldn't be told not to be rude.
- If you weren't going to face people who are needy, you wouldn't be told not to be self-seeking.
- If you weren't going to face people who push your buttons, you wouldn't be told not to be easily angered.
- If you weren't going to face people who betray you or let you down, you wouldn't be told to keep no record of wrongs.
- If you weren't going to face people who deserve payback, you wouldn't be told to not delight in evil but rather rejoice with truth.
When tested by the people around us, yielding to the Spirit to produce the fruit of love within us is the answer to maintaining an awareness of the value of all members. Love will cause us to want to guard the dignity of all, not demean or disregard some while elevating or giving deference to others.
To Do: Jesus commanded us to pray for our "enemies." Stop now to pray for the unlovable people in your life. The more you pray for them, the greater the possibility that you just might start to love them as Jesus loves.
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