Hey friends, how are you today? Really… how are you? How is your summer? What’s your favorite thing about summer? One of my favorites is actually the people. Most people seem kinder and little friendlier. It’s easier to talk to strangers as we walk along the paths or run on the tracks. People seem to care a tad bit more. Although the opposite is also true about people.  The crime rate rises in the summer, there are more careless accidents. But generally speaking, summer seems to bring out a more relaxed atmosphere among people. They become a minute; a very tiny bit easier to love.  Sometimes, I ask myself, ‘who am I?’ When I was younger, I must admit, I was a bit self~centered, just a tad bit, mind you. It’s easy to be kind and loving to kind and loving people.  It’s easy to be generous with generous people.  Ahhhh…but some people are just plain, old mean, aren’t they? Not even summertime can help.  

One of the hardest things for me to do is love perpetually, deliberately difficult people!  Do you know someone like that?  A person who seemingly seeks ways to antagonize, to frustrate.  (Even, at times, those who claim to know Christ?) We are reminded in Ephesians 6:10 that our battle isn’t against flesh and blood; it isn’t against people; but out there is someone insisting on helping us forget that! Here are some principles to live by; some steps to help us, in that area, for the balance of 2019.  

Step 1: God loves people, that includes me and yes, even those people… (John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.)

Step 2: People (that includes me, and yes, even those people…) are created in the image of God, Himself (Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.)

Step 3: Christ died for people (yep, me too and yes, even those people…) Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Step 4: God commands me to love them, yep; even those people…; (John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.)

Step 5: Maybe, now is a good time to really look at me, am I any better? Ummm (Matthew 7:3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?)

Step 6: People are not perfect, and guess what? Neither am I! Lower the expectations; people are and were created for God’s pleasure, not mine; and yes, even those people… (Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

Step 7: Invest in the time to know people, yes, even those people…before giving a title to the friendship, I want to cultivate.  It is for my good, as well as theirs. Every relationship does not have to end in a close friendship… (Proverbs12:26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.)

Step 8: Relationships are not always two-sided; Friendships are not created fair and equal, sometimes I have to give more than I will ever receive (wow, what a novel idea)..(John 1:11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.)

Step 9: At some point in someone’s life (maybe more than one time) something or someone will shake their foundation, their trust, their faith.  I must be faithful, I must be steady, yes, even with those people… (1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.)

Step 10: Some people are only meant to be in my life for a “season”, do not try to hold on to them.  (Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.)

Some people make it hard for us to love them. We must remember that we were once enemies of God, that we are not always faithful to Him, yet even in our state, He loved us!  Oh, how He loves me!  Perhaps, a good verse for me to remember is found in Luke 6:32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them!

Buckle up; saints of God, someone needs you to love them! 

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