“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16

Everyone has one … you know, that co-worker who just grates on your nerves?  The one whom you wish worked in another department … another city … another state?

Mine – let’s call him Jimmie – is a cheery sort.  He is truly gregarious and has no qualms about starting up a conversation with anyone, about anything, at any time.  One of his favorite activities is listening in on discussions over the cubicle wall and then tossing in his own two cents.

I have to admit this drives me batty.  It makes me almost as crazy as the mornings when Jimmie greets me warmly and loudly as I’m trying to concentrate on my work, hoping no one will even notice me, let alone accost me.

You see, I am an introvert, and an introvert’s worst nightmare is the classic extrovert – the life of the party.  That’s Jimmie.

Personality clashes may be unavoidable, but by God’s grace, I can control my attitudes and reactions.  When I’m bugged by people who are different, it’s usually because my focus is not on them but on … me!  “Why can’t they just leave me alone?” I whine inwardly. With my focus squarely on my poor self, I am tasteless, dark, and useless to my Savior. Where is the savor of the Savior to a lost person like Jimmie?  How will he see the One who said, “I am the light of the world”? (John 8:12) 

We need to ask ourselves, “Are we hiding Jesus or shining Him forth for all to see?” Everyday we face choices in our attitude and actions that either diminish or brighten the brilliance of our witness.

Lord Jesus, You tell us what we are like when we lose our saltiness and hide our light. We become tasteless and dark. And we can never attract people to You.  Please help me to love all the Jimmies in my life, for You love them and died for them. May I be willing to give up my life to show You to the world!  Amen.

Take Action

Who is your “Jimmie”? Is he or she a co-worker, a family member, someone belonging to your church? Ask God today to give you His amazing love for that person. Ask Him to make you tasty and brilliant! We all need divine help to love unconditionally. You can read about it in Excruciating Love: 5 Steps to Loving Someone You Don't Really Like.

What has God been teaching you about loving difficult people? Share a comment.