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 of Human Relations rages on to this day.
It seems even the simplest human interactions become a chore. Like the day I went through a drive-thru, ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with an unsweetened tea, and 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 me, but it sure seems like it’s hard to get along with people.
I started out thinking everyone else lacked social skills. After all, I was a good guy and wanted to get along with everybody. I believed if more people were like me, the world would be a better place. So, to keep the peace, I tried to be nice to everybody.
Well, that didn’t change anything. People often took advantage of me because they thought being nice to them meant I was weak.
So, after being a door mat in my younger days, I went in the other direction. I got mean. My motto was I’m going to get you before you get me.
Talk about a tough life—try living with that mindset for over 15 years. Everybody hates that guy. (But, Billy the Bully may have thought twice before kicking me had we crossed paths during this time of my life.)
For years, I wrestled to maintain civil relations with co-workers, people on the street, even friends. And I can’t begin to tell you how difficult it was to maintain a relationship with a girlfriend.
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 chose to have more grace when others begin to irritate me, it would cut down on a lot of relation frustrations.
We have to remember that we live in a fallen world. People will let us down, which also means we’re going to let them down. I’m going to misunderstand what someone said, and someone 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.