One of the hardest things we do is to love people who are mean to us. Even if they aren’t mean, there are people who just ooze dislike. We know they don’t like us, and it is no fun to be around. Our natural reaction is to run away.
Once, I worked in an office across from a very cranky man. His desk was directly behind mine, and every time I spoke to my teammates, he would literally growl.
Living in this kind of tension is really hard. You get to the point where you want to avoid all contact.
One morning, he and I were in early and I overheard him asking a workmate to walk around Green Lake with him after work because it was his birthday. The workmate had plans. Pretty soon, he was on the phone, trying to make plans for the evening – with no success.
In the middle of this, God spoke to my heart. Not audible, but His Spirit was definitely whispering to my spirit. “Go buy him a birthday cake.”
My response was very honest. “That’s a bad idea God. He doesn’t like me, and he is mean.”
“Buy him a birthday cake.”
To make a long story short, God arranged my day so I had to make a trip outside the office (a rarity), and I picked up a birthday cake while I was out.
After leaving it on his desk, and assuring him it was for him, I watched as he gave out pieces of cake to the office. Pretty soon, people who ordinarily avoided him were connecting with him. Then they asked him to join them after work. For one evening at least, he was part of a community.
This man had been in church in the past, but gone through a nasty divorce. He didn’t have access to his kids, and was all alone. God knew where he was, and reached out to him. My ‘obedience’ had more to do with getting over my fear of disdain and backlash than it did with buying a cake.
Now. Those cranky people in your life? Yeah. It is no fun to reach out to cranky people. You might get your head bit off. You might be shamed or embarrassed. Yet, God loves them.
Why don’t you ask God to help you see them the way He does. Then, ask for innovative ways to reach their hearts. Maybe they have a birthday coming up.