A while back as I scrolled through a Facebook feed an image and quote popped up from a friend that read “Love difficult people. You’re one of them.” I chuckled because as much as I hate to admit it, it’s true.

I am a difficult person.

I think that 2020 is going to be a big year for America.  Emotions might run a little higher. Opinions might feel a little stronger.  We might feel a little more divided, a little more hurt, and a little more…angry.

Love difficult people, you’re one of them. I’m one of them.

I received an angry email a minute ago as I started writing this. I’m of the opinion that anyone who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor hasn’t had a chance to write a blog post on loving people while having to practice what they preach in the same sixty seconds.

I am a difficult person. We’re all difficult. We’re all loved anyway.

I want to invite you to walk into 2020 with a new truth: Love difficult people, you’re one of them. It can be easy to proclaim love behind a computer screen; it’s a lot harder to live it during big election years, across divided church pews, and between words strung together in hurtful sentences in living rooms.

2020 is going to be a big year for a whole lot of people and our nightly news will be full of a lot of chatter and a whole lot of emotions. Social media feeds will fill with critiques, comments and judgments, but it will also be filled with the announcements of births, marriages, graduations, new jobs, loss, prayer requests…the list goes on.

We’re all difficult, but we’re all loved.

You see, I realize now that I don’t need a New Year’s Resolution. I need confession…holy confession. I have been a difficult person and an unrepentant one. If I want to celebrate Easter in four months I have to confess that I have at times been an unwieldy child, unrepentant and justifying my uncharitable heart. I have to let go if I want to lay my hands on an empty tomb on Easter morning. I visited a friend the other day, confessing my struggles with sharing forgiveness towards some people and her response was “Send them your blessings, they need it!”

Love difficult people, I’m one of them.

Friends, 2020 is going to be a year that we must love difficult people. It means loving the “other,” loving ourselves, and living into a life of holy confession and honesty with God. It means committing to Love and Justice.  It means that the remaining 358 days will include bowing our heads in recognition that we were yet sinners, but Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). It means taking the hand of God so that God can lead us to a place where there is justice and restoration for all of us, even the most difficult of people.

For the remaining 358 days of 2020 I want to love difficult people. I want to love my neighbor as I love myself (Mark 12:31). I want to stand face to face with them and allow God to show me the “other” through God’s own eyes.

Love difficult people the way you would want to be loved.