Don’t people just irritate you? Especially the ones that are close to you? The better we know them the worse they are. And to make things even worse, many of them are reproducing. If I could simply pick the people or families that are just like me and my family, then community life would be a breeze. But then they too would probably start to get on my nerves.

Soon the gripping, complaining, criticizing, gossiping, impatience, avoidance, and isolation set in and church becomes a place where we simply “do our duty,” but we’re not so happy about it. A thousand petty things are stored away against this or that person or their kids. We justify ourselves because they don’t act right. And while we’re waiting on them to straighten up we busy ourselves with our own concerns and drift further and further away from our friends—the very people God saved and put in His Church.

Now, since we’re all tempted to these things from time-to-time, allow me to shepherd you back to the fold. Stop it! Straighten up! Fervently love the brethren and pursue peace. You’re not so great yourself. People have to put up with you all the time; and aren’t you glad they do? It’s a lot of trouble, but we need each other; God said we do. Allow me to zero in on this Holy Spirit-inspired admonition from the Apostle Paul: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3).

Now then, say something nice about them; pray for them, encourage them, love them, and serve them—right now.

Yes, I did write this for you…but don’t you feel better already?