I think my struggle to get along with people started at an early age. A girl named Tara chose to “go” with a kid named Val instead of me (I still don’t know why, and I’m still not sure what “going with someone” means when you’re 9).
A fellow named Billy decided he was going to get his kicks by bullying me in the ninth grade. (And he literally did kick me.)
A so-called friend, we’ll call him “Kirk”, talked about me behind my back to a bully named Billy. (You know who you are, “Kirk”!)
My War with Human Relations rages on to this day.
It seems even the simplest human interactions become a chore. Just the other day I went through a drive-thru, ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with an unsweetened tea, and was summarily ambushed when the guy working the speaker chimed in to confirm my order.
“Okay, that’s a double-cheeseburger, large fries, and a sweet tea to drink. Drive up to the window, please.”
Are you kidding? For crying out loud, that wasn’t even remotely close to what I ordered. Do you have to have a college degree in communications to order a chicken sandwich?
Maybe it’s just me, but getting along with people seems a lot harder than it has to be.
I started out thinking everyone else was the problem. After all, I was a good guy. I wanted to get along with everybody. If there were more people were like me, the world would be a better place. Right?
Well, that didn’t change anything. In fact, it got worse. People started taking advantage of me because they mistook being nice for being weak. So, after spending some time as a door mat, I changed directions. A full one-hundred and eighty degrees. If nice didn't get the respect I wanted, maybe being a jerk would do the trick.
Talk about a tough life—try living with that mindset for more than fifteen years. Everybody hates that guy. (But, Billy the Bully may have thought twice before kicking me if he'd known me then!) For years, I wrestled to maintain civil relations with co-workers, people on the street, even friends.
Can’t we all just get along?
One day, not long after I re-committed my life to Christ, I asked Him, “Why can’t we all just get along?”
Then I read this from the book of Romans:
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23 (NLT)
So, that explains it. We’re all flawed…me, you, your friends, your boss, and the guy working the drive-thru.
Yes, it’s that simple.
And you know what? It’s okay.
It won’t always be easy, but I guess I should spend more time being patient with people because I’ve got my own flaws. Just maybe, if I choose to have more grace when others irritate me, it would cut down on a lot of relation frustrations.
We live in a fallen world. People are going to let us down and we’re going to let them down. I’m going to misunderstand what someone said, and someone else is going to think I ordered a cheeseburger instead of a chicken sandwich. Sometimes, it’s going to be like the person across from you is speaking another language, and the love-vibe isn’t always going to be there.
No, we can’t always just get along, but that’s okay.