In the book God in the Dock, author C. S. Lewis describes the kind of people we have trouble getting along with. Selfishness, anger, jealousy, or other quirks often sabotage our relationship with them. We sometimes think, Life would be much easier if we didn’t have to contend with such difficult people.

Lewis then turns the tables on us by pointing out that these frustrations are what God has to endure with each of us every day. He writes: “You are just that sort of person. You also have a fatal flaw in your character. All the hopes and plans of others have again and again shipwrecked on your character just as your hopes and plans have shipwrecked on theirs.” This self-awareness should motivate us to try to show the same patience and acceptance to others that God shows to us daily.

In Ephesians, Paul exhorts us to arm ourselves relationally “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love” (4:2). The one who is patient is better able to deal with a difficult person without becoming provoked to anger and retaliation. Instead, he or she is able to endure, exhibiting grace in spite of upsetting behavior.

Are there difficult people in your life? Ask God to show His love through you.