We learn a great deal about ourselves when we rub up against people who think, live, work and act differently to us. We often learn, not just how annoying other people are, but why they might find us difficult and annoying. Sometimes they might well have a point and often we have to find a way to work through it. If we can’t, we are going to struggle in the church because Jesus tells us, ultimately, we must.
In any church, you will rub against people you don’t get on so well with. There are always people whose personalities we gel with better than others. I’m not talking about people who sin against you (though that will happen), I just mean people will naturally gravitate to certain other people and may find others rub them up the wrong way.
The world’s answer to such situations is to cut such people out. If you don’t click with someone, then forget about them. If you don’t like them so much, just avoid them. If you feel someone just isn’t your cup of tea, you don’t have to have anything to do with them. Just keep out their way and leave them to get on with being themselves, somewhere far far away from you.
But in the church we cannot do that. We shouldn’t do that. We have to love our brothers and sisters. How can we say we love God but hate our brother or sister? John’s answer is that we can’t. But even if we don’t hate them, we just don’t get on with them, we can’t easily do any of the one another things Jesus commands us to do from a distance.