A Meditation on Reconciliation and being honest with myself

“It is difficult to like some people.
It is difficult to like somebody threatening your children.
It is so difficult, so
difficult
to like
some people.
…But Jesus says Love them.”

I heard these words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the noontime concert last week, and the lines struck a bell in my head that’s been ringing every since.

The song spoke to me, because I realized that I do find it difficult – so difficult! – to like some people. When I feel ignored, or belittled, or attacked; when I find someone’s rhetoric divisive, their platform dangerous, or their behavior (as they say) “unforgiveable” … if I’m being honest, there are actually whole lots of people that I really can’t say I like very much.

It’s easy to say “I love Everybody” when I’m in a place I feel comfortable, with people I enjoy, and an environment in which I feel safe. But it’s hard to feel love for certain people when I truthfully don’t like them much at all. And rather than searching for a point of commonality, typically I’ll find myself throwing up walls of emotional self-protection: “This person makes me uncomfortable, so I’d prefer just not to engage.” (aka, how long do I have to smile until it’s polite to walk away?)

But these walls, I now realize, are the very place where discipleship really begins. It’s about loving even when I’m hurting, about reaching out a hand when I most want to run away and curl up into a little ball. Reconciliation means loving even when I mistrust, loving even when I feel unsafe, loving people even when I find them difficult to like … and (!) the challenge is that it’s hard.

Thank you Ms. Goldsby, for sharing Dr. King’s wise words … this week, I’m praying for strength.

Lisa Jan Wielunski
Charlotte, NC