Difficult people can be so … difficult! I was looking through an old journal recently anI found an entry I had forgotten. For about two years, my husband and I took a woman named Camille who lived nearby to church each Sunday. I struggled in my relationship with Camille because she seemed to take us for granted. She never thanked us for the ride, was very difficult to have any sort of conversation with, and often responded in what sounded to me like short, curt statements. Here’s my entry:
I continue to struggle with Camille. What started out as a neighborly act of giving someone in need a ride to church each Sunday has become a burden. I constantly have to ask God’s forgiveness for looking down on her, responding first with judgment before remembering my response should be love, not valuing her as God values her.
I have been contemplating the value her 60 plus years of life have been. Certainly, there is value to her life. After all, God created her and He does not create anything that is worthless. So what is the value to her life? She’s never held a job and has contributed little to society. As near as I can figure, she has relied on others all her life, even the most basic of things.
What is her value? As Phil and I were driving her home today, her value occurred to me. Her value comes because of me and others like me. I am forced to continually turn to God for the strength to respond more like His Son and less in my own flesh. Her value comes because she causes me to strive to be more Christ like. Without even knowing it, she causes me to see the ugliness of my flesh and sin. This leaves me at a crossroads. Do I remain in my sin? Or do I strive to put off the old woman and accept the new woman God desires me to be through the rebirth I experience in His Son?
I desire to follow God and lean hard into Him as life presents its trials and temptations. These can be merely words. But they can direct my efforts as I experience challenging relationships with difficult people, such as mine with Camille. As I lean into God, I have the opportunity to know Him more intimately. In addition, I can choose to respond obediently to the call He has on my life. All things are possible for God and He can turn the ugliness of my heart into a remolded, reshaped heart of great beauty. I pray God’s heart shines through the struggles I have with difficult people and that my heart would be open to His work in my life.