People are messy. I don’t mean unhygienic or leaves-the-dishes-in-the-sink messy (though, yeah, there are those…). I’m talking personal messes, stuff that people do over and over again – hurting our feelings, frustrating us, driving us crazy – messes that we feel like we are constantly walking over or cleaning up or drowning in. Messes that make us wonder if the relationship is even worth all that work, all that clean-up, all that forgiveness.

So how do we deal with the messes people bring?

Before I answer that, let me show you a picture. My son, Thomas (age 10), was told to make his bed. About 30 seconds later, he announced that task was accomplished…

messy bed

Yep – those lumps are the sheet and two blankets he sleeps under every night (I know we live in Florida, but Thomas can’t sleep without a fan in his face, causing him to freeze, thus requiring four layers). He just threw his comforter over the mess underneath and “done.” Back to the XBox.

My husband called me in to take this picture (“this would make for a great blog post,” he said), and laugh. Were we laughing at Thomas’ laziness or his rush-through-the-chore-so-I-can-play-Madden2013 attitude? No. We laughed because we love Thomas. We know him, we know where his areas of weakness are. We don’t think laziness is funny, and we don’t want Thomas to grow up thinking rushing through chores is acceptable, but even as we train him and teach him and discipline, we love him. He is ours.

But here’s the reality – I HATE that trait in others. When I interact with someone I didn’t give birth to who does this, I get angry! That student who wrote his essay the class before mine instead of taking it home and really working on it?? That is a huge pet peeve. And what about the coworker who leaves it to the rest of us to accomplish a “group” task? Annoying!!

But I am reminded of a couple things. 1) Things that annoy me about others are usually areas of “mess” in my own life: I can be quite lazy if a task doesn’t appeal to me. 2) God is constantly putting up with #1 and forgiving me, training, teaching, and disciplining me, all the while loving me unconditionally.

And God loves EVERYONE like that. Even the student who always procrastinates his work or the coworker who shirks her responsibilities. And what about the REALLY messy people? The ones who say terrible things about us, the ones who hurt us, the ones who hurt those we love? God loves them, too. They are his beloved children. God wants to help clean up their messes as much as he wants to help clean up ours.

So how do we deal with messy people? 1) Recognize we are one of them 2) Recognize God loves them as much as He loves us.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17b-19

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *