I had a conversation with that person the other day. The person who fills the air with uninteresting data and simultaneously changes everything I try to talk about into something about themselves and manages to insult me in a host of ways with the constant stream of verbiage.
No, I was not talking to myself, but I think I may be that person sometimes.
And here I am, the Pastor’s Wife, supposed to love everybody. And I do. But I don’t actually like everybody.
There’s this line by Lucy Maude Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables. Aunt Josephine says,
I like people who make me like them. Saves me so much trouble forcing myself to like them.
I live in that place, sometimes. I simply don’t like everyone.
The thing is, even that person is made in the image of God.
And when I pause to think about that person as the image-bearer of God, it changes my perspective – just a little.
If I look for how that person reflects the character of God, I can find something to value, to appreciate, to enjoy.
I don’t do this because I am the Pastor’s Wife. I do this because it is my calling in Christ.
C. S. Lewis said:
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruptions such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.
… it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean we are to be perpetually be solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.
Recognizing the image of God present in every person – and understanding they will exist eternally in one of only two places – gives me the heart to be gracious in my conversations, to overlook offenses (really overlook, not just stuff it down until I explode), and to approach others with a desire for reconciliation rather than restitution when hurt happens.
Bob Marley, a reggae musician, accurately states,
The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.
And Christ, by coming to earth to save the unlovely, defines “the ones worth suffering for” as all people – broken people – who are made in the image of God.
He loves that person, even when it’s me.