When Others Are Hard to Love

By Marc Massery

Is there someone in your life who is hard to love? 

Sometimes, God puts people in our lives with whom we have a hard time reconciling. Maybe we understand them but they just never seem to get us. But if they’re a family member, a friend, or a coworker, sometimes we have to withhold from them our anger and frustration in order to keep the peace. Saint Faustina knew this silent pain well. She wrote:

Oh, how often virtue suffers only because it remains silent. To be sincere with those who are incessantly stinging us demands much self denial. One bleeds but has no visible wounds. (236)

Life is often not fair. But God is. He takes notice of all our suffering, especially silent suffering. 

Similar to St. Faustina, St. Thérèse of Lisieux often wrote about dealing with difficult sisters. Saint Thérèse had an intense dislike for one nun in particular. In her spiritual memoir, Story of a Soul, Thérèse said that this nun had "the faculty of displeasing me in everything, in her ways, her words, her character.” But St. Thérèse didn’t avoid her. She did not talk about her behind her back, nor did she ever even let this nun know how she felt. Instead, she frequently sought this nun out to treat her “as if I loved her best of all.” This nun was so unaware of St. Thérèse’s dislike for her that she once asked St. Thérèse, “Would you tell me … what attracts you so much toward me; every time you look at me, I see your smile?” Instead of giving in to her natural inclinations, St. Thérèse embraced the suffering the Lord allowed her to endure through this disagreeable nun. Through God's grace, St. Thérèse was able to show this nun love and respect, even though it cost her much. 

Now, it's not always God's will that we hide our anger and frustration from others. When it is necessary, though, it can be a painful experience. But the more painful it is to treat those who hurt us with compassion, the more blessings God has in store for us. Even if no one else sees, the Lord knows every wound others inflict upon us, and He wants to heal us and help us. 

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Photo by Kido Dong on Unsplash

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