Often in The Church, we highlight the good. We like to smooth over the rough bits, find the lessons in difficulties, and pretend that everybody gets along.
I’m giving you a permission someone gave me a long time ago:
You do not have to like everyone.
You do not have to like everyone
YOU DO NOT have to LIKE EVERYONE.
There are as many personalities in The Church as there are in the world. It’s a good thing. We are called to love everyone, regardless, and the truth is, sometimes the most loving thing to do is not be friends.
Keeping a healthy distance is not just good for you, but ultimately, all the angst and drama you’re avoiding is also healthy for your congregation.
I have a rule for even people who make me want to punch them in the face with a 2×4 dipped in wet concrete covered in gravel:
If they are thirsty, I will give them water.
If they are hungry, I will give them food.
Because chances are, if they’re coming to me, they really need help. I will meet their immediate needs and send them to someone else.
That is the beautiful part about being a body of believers. We don’t have to do everything ourselves.
I have friends that I would lay my life down for, not that I’m hoping it comes to that; but Christian and non-Christian if GOD asked, I would.
In The Church, I’ve found that the adage, “Go where the blessing is”, also applies to people. GOD can call on us to love some difficult persons, but I can name you someone whose called me almost every mean thing you can call a person but would be one of the first to help me if I needed it. It took a lot, but I did what GOD asked, and now Doug and I have a friend for life.
Don’t waste your time on people that clearly have others to support them, especially if you can’t stand them. Why not focus on the people you already know and like and take a beat to see if that person who slips in and out of the back row isn’t worth the effort too?
Being a peacemaker is often times about keeping your distance and keeping your mouth shut. Until GOD prompts otherwise.
“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”
Proverbs 13:3 ESV