There are a lot of different categories in this world when it comes to people but today, I’m concentrating on two. These two may have the absolute best intentions but can often be perceived quite differently than they would like to be. It could be you or I any given day, but for some, these descriptions depict their lives; their lives that are so wrapped up in wanting to be a part of everyone else’s, that they come off arrogant or even a little creepy. Good intentions or not, any one of us can be labeled according to our actions. It doesn’t take much for someone to take notice of a behavior you have or had momentarily and assume your whole life revolves around nurturing that very behavior. If we’re not careful the wrong impression can lead to mistrust, lost friendships, and mistaken identity that is hard to undo.
Let’s take the contentious talker for example. You know the people. They have to get into every conversation. Their opinion, whether it’s the same or different than yours, always comes off as an argument. They insert their thoughts and you instantly want to insert your fingers — into your eyes or ears, depending on where they’re sharing their opinion. they’ve come to believe over many years of self-convincing that their opinion is FACT, when in all actuality, it will never be more than an opinion. They seem to know so much about so many things that you wouldn’t dare argue because they might go as far as trying to find proof in order to prove you wrong…even though again, it’s only an opinion. They’re loud, even in their written responses. They antagonize, add things to the conversation that weren’t necessary and never seem to care if they were invited in or not.
This person, whether they have good intentions or not, always comes off in a negative light. Many veer from their path while others who are more soft spoken tend to follow them. To some they are arrogant to others they are all-knowing. Those are the people they want to encourage. They feed off of the people who tell them they’re right and they ALWAYS want the last word. Whether valid or not, their point is always made but quite often, not understood. They may not feel vicious but every ounce of their being goes into proving a point that need not be proven.
Then there’s the quiet stalker. He/she follows along, unbeknownst to you, picking up on everything you’ve shared on social media, with friends in private conversations, or just out in public where you had no idea they were lurking. Then one day their shyness turns into a narration of your life. They seem to know everything about you and what you’ve been up to. They ask you about your recent trips, your happenings and even try to console you when you’re down. You don’t know them well at all and wonder if they’ve been reading your social media page or if they have a tent set up in your backyard throughout the night. Same great intentions? Possibly. But their approach is that of an animal, stalking it’s prey. What will they do next? Have they found their “in” to your life? You feel like you have to share with them every time you see them now. They want to know how you are and get regular updates. What’s the status on this? How about this?
In both cases, I’ve come to learn that these individuals are in need of friends. They reach out in completely different ways for the very same thing. One may know that their shyness and awkward approach keeps them from sustaining any real friendships, whereas the other doesn’t know that their callous approach has afforded them as far from the friendship spot as possible. They feel like their opinions are valued but don’t understand that being on the same page isn’t necessarily the definition of friendship.
We can be friendly without being friends just as we can be friends while agreeing to disagree. We will never be able to keep everyone up on everything or let each well-meaning person in on every aspect of our personal lives. We don’t have to argue and we certainly don’t have to understand why people do what they do. However, we do have one obligation when it comes to these two, different types of people and the thousand of other types that we see day in and day out. Our job is a lot easier than we think but harder to understand so sometimes we fail at even trying. We don’t have to put much effort forth or even give it a second thought on most occasions.
You see, our job is to love one another. Despite the difficult personalities, the weirdness that makes us who we are, and the harshness that comes off. We choose love and that, my friends, is what gets you through those not-so-pleasant interactions with folks that are just not like you or I. We’re all different. Even if it wasn’t one of these two that I’ve described, we’re all able to be put into a category of a “type”. With the best of intentions we can come off as the worst of people. Does it mean that we (or these folks we’re talking about) don’t need to make a few changes? No, they very well might need to adjust their approach a bit, but we cannot change them nor should we wish to.
The great Forrest Gump once shared advice from his Mama, “Life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” You know what else Mama said? “You have to do the best with what God gave you.”
Whether you’re type A, B, C or Z, you are given something from someOne who knows you better than anyone . This very same person knows each of those other people too — the ones you like, the ones you dislike, the ones you have no idea how you could like — and you know what He says about them? I love them. They’re my children.
No where in the Bible does it say we have to like everyone but Mark 12:31 says this,
"Love your neighbor as yourself."
This is one of the most important commandments along with loving God.
So what’s the difference? Like is an emotion. We can like someone who is similar to us or who we connect with. But loving someone is a choice. We make a decision to love.
I read an article about this very subject and this line was PERFECT to help us understand the difference: “It [love] doesn’t describe how I feel about you; it describes how I treat you. To love someone is to be loyal, devoted, courteous, kind, thoughtful, giving, and caring.”
As always, I’m not sure where this came from today but I know it’s meant for someone. In fact, it could be for a few of you out there that are trying to grasp emotions you’re having about a certain someone that you will never quite get passed. The good thing is, you don’t need to. You make the choice to love through your differences as much as you will because of the similarities. You will be you, the best you that God made you to be. You won’t change others and they can’t change you. So today as you get out into that world, how about you just do you?