In ministry, we have a phrase we use when we have to deal with difficult people. It’s called extra grace required, so we call these people who are harder to love: EGRs. Sometimes we encounter EGRs at work. These are the people who steal our staplers, log onto our computers, or who gossip about us. Then there are EGR bosses. The ones who don’t promote us, won’t give us raises, who threaten to fire us or who play favorites while taking credit for the work we do. If we don’t work in a traditional capacity, we might encounter EGRs in our church, community, or in another organization. Oftentimes they are leaders, who, for no apparent reason, are unfair, rude or seem like they are out to get us!
Friend, the good news is that God gives us a solution for dealing with EGRs — we love them! You probably learned this basic principle in your early Christian education. There is no truer hallmark of a disciple of Jesus Christ than a willingness to love your enemies. Just as the Apostle Paul said, “If I speak in the tongues of angels but do not have love, I’m a resounding gong or clanging cymbal.” This is because without attitudes and actions of love, all your words about your faith in Jesus are meaningless noise. When you live in close and connected fellowship to the Lord, relying on His Spirit in the stuff of your daily life, you can become a person of unconditional love. You can effortlessly and willingly embrace EGRs! Isn’t that wonderful news?