I must warn you before you read any further: You may find this post offensive.
If you were asked to make a list of 5 or 10 of your least favorite people, would you consider it a challenging task, or would names fly left and right? Would the names on your list be celebrities, co-workers, relatives, or bosses and politicians? Do you already have a mental list in a downloadable format...on standby just in case someone asks or mentions a name on your list?
Like everyone else, I have struggled in life with bitterness, a judgmental attitude, and down-right jealousy. In those moments of clarity (few and far-between), I have realized that the people who most annoy me, irritate me, or just rub me the wrong way, are often more like me than I want to admit. Hardly anyone thinks he or she is perfect, and most of us are quick to admit that we have plenty of shortcomings; however, we seldom identify our flaws. I want to suggest that when you and I see our flaws in other people, they drive us crazy. We want to stamp out the arrogance in her or fix the clumsiness in him or thump that person for a lack of compassion... We want to pass judgment on the faults in others because those very faults live in us. Far too often, though, we fail to see them in ourselves.
So here's the tough part of this post-- go back through your list of least favorite people. Once you discern why each person is on your list, ask the hard question: Do I struggle with the same issues that landed them on my list?
If we can work on overcoming the issues we struggle with, we will find other people much more bearable. In the history of mankind, there has only been one perfect life lived. The owner of that life taught that we should love people-- yes, even the people who remind us of our own flaws.
Give it a try!