Probably the most annoying thing about living in Watford is the morning traffic. Yeah, yeah, I’m sure you have it worse where you are, but Watford is pretty bad… (Although in fairness, if you drive in London, my condolences).
And, do you know what causes traffic. Cars, I hear you cry….No, no no, it isn’t cars.
The problem of traffic is entirely caused by OTHER PEOPLE DRIVING ON MY ROADS…
You see, if there weren’t any other people in their stupid cars then I’d be able to get to work ok. I wouldn’t sit in traffic having to listen to the northern-lilted-Grimshaw in the mornings… without other people around, I’d happily go my merry way, relaxed and calm and loving and peaceful and serene; displaying all of the fruits of the Spirit in my every action.
But, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…Other flipping people are around all the time.
Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, like a cold drink on a hot day, like a breath of air after being underwater, there it comes, a moment of genuine kindness – the wave…the hand signal from a fellow traffic-hater…”go on, you go, after you”. A beautiful moment in an otherwise ugly traffic-jammed-world.
The full story of people on my journey to work: People are both infuriating and incredible.
And, more than that, those infuriating and incredible people are our responsibility.
Yep, yours and mine.
All people, everyone, just like you and me, are made in the image of God and we’re told that we are to love them – to take responsibility for them. Whether we like it or not, we’re called to love other people, whoever they might be, both alike to us and different.
We all have people that we are really similar to, which is why friendship groups (or the more negative cliques) form isn’t it? We gather with people to whom we are alike, akin. We have the same tastes and enjoy the same things.
These are our friends, they are the ones it’s easy to hang out with. So we do just that.
But we also all have people who are different and distinct from us, who are alien to us. In fact, that’s probably most other people – everyone else is a bit different, right? They aren’t necessarily annoying or weird, but just, different. They almost become non-entities (in the least offensive way possible!).
And, it’s to both those who are easy to get on with and to the “others” that we are all called. To our neighbours who have a totally different background to us. To the old lady across the road who is a bit deaf and shouts her questions each morning (“how’s the rash, love?”) or the people down the road who grew up in a different country and culture. To those people with so much less than us that we see on TV who are trapped and ravaged by poverty. Or maybe it’s much closer to home and it’s just someone who winds you up at school – they talk about themselves all the time, or they always have to be the first to know everything. Or maybe it’s the person in college who picks on you.
There are lots of others who need the Love that we have in us; many who need the God of Love who found us.
It’s sometimes really hard to do, but it is out of the safety and security of the community we are part of and in the knowledge of the Love of God, that we welcome in people who are both different and difficult (or even those who are similar and sorted).
Everyone gets welcomed. THAT is what the love of God asks.
In loving and being loved by God we learn to love ourselves more and see how much God loves others, which leads us to act upon that and love them too.