What About Bob?
I think many of us have those one or two people in our lives... that "What about Bob?" character. You may be familiar with the Bill Murray/Richard Dreyfuss movie of the same name. Bob is a character played by Murray that absolutely drives Dreyfuss's character to craziness... of course, it's hilarious, but we all know someone that represents Bob! It's the person that everyone is somehow easily endeared to but for some reason, they push your limits into sinful explosions of anger. I know that we all immediately have that person or persons' picture in our mind right now.
So what do we do with this? Do we somehow magically readjust our feelings about the person? Do we fight through those feelings and put on a brave albeit "fake" facade? ... maybe...
Consider these verses spoken by Jesus in the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:
43) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44) But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45) so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46) For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47) And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48) You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Maybe after reading this, you have an initial reaction like I did... "They don't 'persecute' me and them aren't my enemy!!!". While this is very true, I still have the same problem. The work of loving the person is hard for me!
So, in keeping with the "spirit" of this passage and even though you are not being "persecuted" and/or you are not mortal enemies, we should still apply the practicality of this passage and pray for them. In actuality, it is really hard to show animosity toward someone that you are praying for. Pray for that person to grow in Christ. Pray for them to receive a blessing. Pray for them to be better spouses. Pray for them to be more selfless. Pray for them to know and grow in the fruit of the Spirit. Pray they are protected from the enemy's attacks. In tandem... pray those same prayers for yourself.
This is what I know from adopting this act. God WILL change you and that person will move from sandpaper to polish in your life!
Soli Deo Gloria