“The challenge of the Christian life is getting along with people. If we don’t have that, what else is there?” So said my friend Marlena today and she is right.
“Getting along” means practicing virtues like patience (giving up control — in a healthy way), justice (giving people the good things that are due them), and courage (standing up for what is right — in a loving way). Getting along usually means not imposing our preferences when we don’t need to (which, if we’re honest, is most of the time!).
Words and actions overflow from the heart. If we find ourselves not getting along with a family member or co-worker, we can look to our hearts for the source of the agitation. We can re-assess our list of loves — if we find our preferences at the top of the list, we can decide to knock it off the #1 spot.
How we interact with people who aren’t our favorites reveals our strengths and weaknesses. But that’s good news — awareness of what virtues we need to grow in is the first step to our next spiritual growth-spurt. Yay!
Fortunately, there is one habit that counteracts all our weaknesses: instant prayer. If someone starts to get to us, we can develop a habit of “blessing them,” as Marlena calls it. Blessing means silently asking God, on their behalf, for the same good things I want for myself, namely, peace. We will restore our peace if we pray for the peace of someone trying our patience right now.
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