Half way through this lesson, I realized that there were many different types of "difficult" people. Beth was focusing on the extremely difficult relationships where someone is very hard to get along with. These people often cause hurt feelings. She refers to them as the porcupines--get too close and you'll get stuck.
As I thought more about it, I realized there were other types of "difficult" people. Some may be in our lives right now. These are the people who don't mean to be difficult, but they make it very hard for us to love them. One in particular that I thought of was those who put up invisible walls around themselves. These people have been hurt in the past, closing themselves off from others to avoid further hurt. These wounded souls need God's help just as much as the abrasive neighbor or the know-it-all relative. The wounded soul has retreated in to himself and rebuffs anyone who tries to get close. The easy thing to do would be to walk away. We think, Fine. I'll respect their privacy. Besides, I don't have time to waste getting through that brick wall! But...
We love, because He first loved us. ~ 1 John 4:19 (NASB)
...I can love others because God first loved me. I would not know how to love if God had not demonstrated love to me.
Hmmmm. I wonder if God ever thinks, She is so stubborn that I just can't spend any more time trying to love her. Of course not. He doesn't give up. Then again, He's God and He's able to do so much more than us. But, I can love the difficult people who don't love me back because God poured His love into me.
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love
into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ~ Romans 5:5 (NIV)
So, if I try to love others with my human nature, my patience runs very short, I get angry, I give up. But...
...God can love this person through me. We can follow God's lead when trying to love someone who doesn't want to be loved or is difficult to love. He will show us when to press in or when to pull back, if we stay tuned in to the Holy Spirit. Will it be easy? Ha! Probably not. But whoever said life (or relationships) would be easy?