When we happen to come across a person that rubs us the wrong way, a grumpy cashier or an inconsiderate person waiting in line, a total stranger that we will probably never see again, we are annoyed but for the most part we move on with our day. When we see the same person more regularly, meeting them at the mailbox or in the break room and kept hearing about their complaints for hours, we sink each time we see them, possibly it ruins our day or makes us snippy. However, everything changes when that person we clash with is up close and personal, living as an integral and unavoidable part of our daily lives. Whoever that person may be, family, coworker, or otherwise, as a child of God we must ask ourselves the role this person plays in our walk with Christ. This person whom we find so aggravating has been put in our life deliberately and for a reason, and though we may feel oppressed, imprisoned even, by the challenge the person in our life poses, we would be foolish not to seize the opportunity the Lord has given us to grow. Through the daily struggle of dealing with a difficult person, constantly sharpening our character and wearing down our rough edges, we can, if we submit to God’s guidance and shaping, gradually conform our mind to the mind of Christ Jesus. By swallowing our pride and yielding to humility, we can bring our Father complete joy and make ourselves one with the Holy Spirit by considering others, even those who irritate us, more important than ourselves. Our Father wants only the best for us, and knows that we can be more than simply a body controlled by passions and pride. While it may seem impossible, we can master our own frustrations, walking in a way that is worthy of the calling the Lord has given us, and gentling ourselves with humility, love, and peace rather than flaring constantly in selfishness. We put off the old self in this way for the sake of the Lord, and the training ground of building patience with a difficult person can be the perfect opportunity to grow and mature in this area of our walk with Christ. Instead of wishing the impossible person away in our lives, praying we will not have to deal with them, we can look at them as a gift and a blessing from God, counting them a joy that will help us develop our faith. If we find these people coming into our lives, challenging us, than clearly our Father thinks that we can handle the test, and we have the strength to emerge as the better and more developed Christian He knows we can become. Through the crucible of the difficult people in our lives, we can persevere, pursuing the humble, mature, and pure faith that our Lord so craves from us.
“Therefore if you have any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, then make my joy complete by being of one mind, having the same love, being united in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Let this mind also be in you that was also in Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:1-5
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17