“It is difficult to like some people.
It is difficult to like somebody threatening your children.
It is so difficult, so
…But Jesus says Love them.”
I heard these words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the noontime concert last week, and the lines struck a bell in my head that’s been ringing every since.
The song spoke to me, because I realized that I do find it difficult – so difficult! – to like some people. When I feel ignored, or belittled, or attacked; when I find someone’s rhetoric divisive, their platform dangerous, or their behavior (as they say) “unforgiveable” … if I’m being honest, there are actually whole lots of people that I really can’t say I like very much.
It’s easy to say “I love Everybody” when I’m in a place I feel comfortable, with people I enjoy, and an environment in which I feel safe. But it’s hard to feel love for certain people when I truthfully don’t like them much at all. And rather than searching for a point of commonality, typically I’ll find myself throwing up walls of emotional self-protection: “This person makes me uncomfortable, so I’d prefer just not to engage.” (aka, how long do I have to smile until it’s polite to walk away?)
But these walls, I now realize, are the very place where discipleship really begins. It’s about loving even when I’m hurting, about reaching out a hand when I most want to run away and curl up into a little ball. Reconciliation means loving even when I mistrust, loving even when I feel unsafe, loving people even when I find them difficult to like … and (!) the challenge is that it’s hard.
Thank you Ms. Goldsby, for sharing Dr. King’s wise words … this week, I’m praying for strength.
Lisa Jan Wielunski