In ministry, we have a phrase we use when we have to deal with difficult individuals — extra grace required! Therefore, we call the people who are harder to love EGRs. Sometimes we encounter EGRs at work; they are the ones who steal our staplers, log into our computers, send us spam emails, or who gossip about us. Then there are EGR bosses — the kind who don’t promote us, won’t give us raises, who threaten to fire us or who play favorites with our colleagues while taking credit for the work we do. If we don’t work in a traditional capacity, then we might encounter EGRs in our church, communities, or at other organizations we participate in. 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! 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 have not love, I’m a resounding gong or clanging cymbal.” This is because without attitudes and actions of love, all your words about 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; the kind who effortlessly and willingly embraces EGRs! Isn’t that wonderful news?