When we first moved into our present home, I enjoyed the beauty of the geese that nest nearby. I admired the way they cared for each other and the way they moved in straight lines in the water and in majestic V-formations in the air. It was also a joy to watch them raise their young.
Then summer came, and I discovered some less beautiful truths about my feathered friends. You see, geese love to eat grass, and they don’t really care if it ruins the look of the lawn. Worse, what they leave behind makes a stroll across the yard a messy adventure.
I think of these geese when I’m dealing with difficult people. Sometimes I wish I could simply shoo them out of my life. It’s then that God usually reminds me that there is beauty in even the most difficult person if we can get close enough to discover it, and the pain they’re giving out may be reflective of the pain they are feeling. The apostle Paul says in Romans, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (12:18). So I ask God to help me be patient with the “hard side” of others. This doesn’t always produce a happy outcome, but it is remarkable how often God redeems these relationships.
As we encounter difficult people, by God’s grace we can see and love them through His eyes.
By Your grace, Lord, help me to live peaceably with others. And help me to recognize when I’m the difficult person in other people’s lives and need Your intervention. Give me the will and desire to change.
Peace can come if we respond with a gentle answer.
When the apostle Paul instructs the Roman Christians to bless rather than curse those who persecute them, he’s not talking just about words. The biblical concept of blessing and cursing nearly always meant both words and actions. In today’s passage Paul is calling for radical acts of love, for—as Jesus showed us—true love is not just conveyed by what we say but also by what we do (John 15:13; 1 John 3:18). Dennis Moles