by Emily Watt, Central Maryland


Can I get something off my chest? There is someone in my life that I cannot stand. In fact, I can’t ever remember disliking anyone with the same intensity.

I am a super senior majoring in Elementary and Special Education. This semester, I took 15 credits in classes along with a 20+ hour-a-week student teaching experience.

Halfway through the semester, a graduating senior began her experience in the same Special Education resource room where I was placed. And that is when I met the bane of my existence.

I have a very, very hard time dealing with her presence. I don’t think I can even describe how she makes me feel. So I’ll just say that I find her to be an odious person. I can sense her presence and it turns my entire mood sour. She’s the fingernails to my chalkboard, the vinegar to my wine. The fact that I have not exploded in a flaming ball of rage is a miracle in and of itself.

I know, I know. This is not very “Christian” of me. There’s a dozen verses I can think of that remind me how God is love and that I need to be loving. Pray for my enemy, turn the other cheek, love as He has loved me… I know all of this. I got that. But this is the first time I’ve struggled with loving someone that I cannot avoid.

As a Christian, there are certain ways of coping that are strictly out. I cannot yank her hair out or set her lesson plans on fire. I cannot ignore her when she talks to me or make high-pitched noises in order to drown out the sound of her voice. But in my head, that’s what I want to do!

The fact that I spend all day in the same room with her and act like I don’t want to punch her makes me feel so two-faced. I hate that feeling, but I don’t have an acceptable alternative.

Actually, scratch that. I can’t make her change, because I don’t have that power. I can’t scream at her and tell her exactly what I think, because that’s not what Jesus expects from me and He’s the boss.

But, I do have a choice. I can change the way I think. I can look at her every day and force myself to remember that Jesus loves her. Jesus died for her. If she were the only person who had ever existed, Jesus still would have come and died for her.

And I can pray for her and pray over my attitude towards her. Jesus will change my heart. He will show me that she is precious to Him, and that makes her precious to me.

I don’t think Jesus expects us to like everyone we meet and that everything will be “rainbows and butterflies” all the time. We’re humans. We have different experiences that shape our personalities. Some people are going to rub each other the wrong way. I do, however, think He expects us to make the conscious decision to work on loving the people we can’t stand. Not because it makes us holy, not because it wins us a bigger mansion in Heaven, but because He made the decision to love us.

I think that’s where love really comes into play—remembering that we are called to love and then asking Jesus to help us love the unlovable. I can be pretty unlovable, but Jesus still loves me. How can I do less than to ask Jesus to help me extend the same mercy to the unlovable people in my life?

That’s where I am right now. I haven’t had any major changes yet, but I can hear that still, small voice calling me to remember what Jesus expects from me. That’s enough for now.

What about you? How do you love the unlovable people in your life?

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