If you read enough blogs and devotionals, you’ll come across advice about clearing out the bad influences or time wasters from your life, including people. If someone is draining your energy, discouraging you or pulling you down in any way, the recommendation is to get them out of your life. I’ve always wondered about this, because I do know some people who are difficult to be with (see my post on sandpaper people), but it doesn’t seem like the Christian thing to do.
Jesus spent time with the outcasts, those on the fringe of society, the sinners, the lepers and the demon possessed. I don’t remember him advising his followers to stay away from them. Rather than try to get them out of his life, he went out of his way to establish relationships with them, to heal them and even love them.
Colossians 3 tells us everyone is defined by Christ and everyone is included in Christ (verse 11, MSG). If I’m living my life as if Jesus were living it, rather than ditching difficult people, I need to figure out a way to connect with and love them, sandpaper and all.