(Photo courtesy of TheHanoverTheatre.org)
Why God Wants Us to Love Grinches
By Maxine O’Loane
Cold weather, hot tea, Christmas music and ugly Christmas sweaters as far as the eye can see. We all know what this means: the holiday season is finally here, and I for one can’t believe how fast it has come this year. And even though I absolutely adore the holiday season and everything that comes with it, I’m well aware of the fact that not everyone feels the same way. Despite what those heartfelt Hallmark movies may say, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all encountered our fair share of “Grinches” throughout the years. The holidays can be hard for some people, whether because of the loss of a loved one, a bad breakup, a lost job, family drama or an off day. Odds are you’re probably going to come across at least one person like this, so it’s important to know how to deal with them, or better yet, how God wants us to love on them.
When it comes to loving others two things come to mind. The phrase: “love your neighbor as yourself,” and Luke 6:32: “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” Now, you may have already seen the first one coming and while it is a great point I want to focus more on the verse in Luke. I want to start off by reminding you that these so called “Grinches” are just like you and me. We’ve all had good and bad days; the only difference is they’re experiencing these bad days during the holidays, so try to remember that. As I was saying, that verse in Luke is what I really want to focus on. Answer this: if you had to pick a partner for a presentation would you rather pick the kind, funny and easy going girl or guy who sits in front or the serious, blunt, obnoxious girl or guy in the back row? Who’d you pick? My first choice would definitely be the first person, because I know we’d probably get along better and I would enjoy working with them. You can apply this to any situation. Since we’re talking about Christmas season let’s say you had to choose between two customers with these personality traits. You’d choose the same person, right? Me too. This is what that verse is talking about. Of course it’s easy for us to be kind to the first person, especially when it sounds like the second is going to give us a hard time. I mean, be honest, we might even feel like avoiding them altogether. This is why it’s so important to know that God doesn’t want us to just deal with these people but that he wants us to love on them, even when we might not want to.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it’s going to be easy, that the next time someone gives you attitude, says something rude, or does something outrageous, that you’ll magically feel a sense of peace and love towards them. If only it were that easy! But what I am going to say is, when you come into contact with someone like that, whether it be during Christmas or any time after, stop and think before you react.
“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry”
– James 1:19
I know that it’s a lot easier said than done, but think about it like this: you don’t have to do anything extravagant or out of your way for them. As cliché as it may sound, a simple smile or saying “have a nice day,” or “Merry Christmas” won’t go unnoticed. Trust me.
To sum it all up, as everyone starts their Christmas shopping, tree decorating, party planning and cooking, try to remember that you’ll come in contact with a lot of different personalities. And the next time a customer gives you attitude, or you have to deal with any hard to love people in your life, remember it won’t be easy but a little love might be exactly what they need. We might refer to them as “Grinches” but don’t forget what happened to the Grinch at the end of the movie . . . all he needed was someone to not give up on him.
“And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say- that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.”
– Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas