Tuesday, March 4, 2014


"What are the redeeming qualities of the person you most dislike?"

It's a question that the game Table Topics poses to its participants. One of those questions that you don't really want to answer because it makes you have to acknowledge a few things about yourself. These things may or may not include the following:

  1. You actually dislike people (no matter how hard to try to convince yourself that you love all people well). 
  2. You might have to weed through all the things you truly dislike about a person before ever figuring out what might be "redeeming"....and, you may still come up short (only perpetuating the awful feeling of admitting that you're not as saintly as you might hope). 
  3. Your reasons for disliking someone may not be that valid after all and as you quickly recognize all the redeemable qualities, you realize how shallow you just might be. 
But, I think it's a great question. 
A question that makes you pause...think...and remember that people are people. That, with the bad, there is also good. It has the capability of being a perspective-shifting question. A question that causes you to stop dwelling on all the negative, all the annoying, all the frustrating, all the bad memories...and forces you to think about the positive, even if only for a moment.  

I'm not saying you're going to walk away from that question loving everyone that you, ten seconds prior, despised... but I am saying that, if you allow it to, it could be a question that begins to chip away at the hardness within you. 

What are the redeeming qualities of the person you most dislike? 
Are you willing to go there?
Are you willing to think about?
Are you willing to give them a chance to not be the back-stabbing, selfish, cruel, heartless, inconsiderate, annoying moron that you think they are? 

Even if for a moment, are you willing to say that there might be something good there? 

I recognize that there are some pretty terrible things out there that people have done. I recognize that there's a lot of hatred, a lot of discord, a lot of pain and heartache. I realize that lives have been shattered by other's actions. I'm aware that I can't even begin to understand the evil that's in this world. 

But I'm also unwilling to say that it has to be the final diagnosis on their character for all time. I'm unwilling to say that anyone is irredeemable. I'm unwilling to say that its hopeless. I'm unwilling to say that people can't change. 

Because they do.
People change. 
Even the worst of the worst... they can change. 
They can tell a different story.
I can tell a different story. 
Somewhere, even if deep-down, we all have redeemable qualities. 

Christ has come. 
While we were all still sinners, He died.
I can't begin to say that anyone is outside of that sacrifice. 
And, when I'm reminded of what He did when I'm still too often running, denying, and doubting...my hardness and my dislike of others continues to be sanded away. 

I need to be willing to see the good in others.
I need to be reminded that blood has been shed for the worst of the worst. I need to be reminded that He, too, loves them as much as He loves me. Even the person I most dislike. 

The price has been paid.
No matter how much I hate, no matter how hurt I am, no matter the darkness... 

I have been redeemed. This is true on my best of days and my worst of days... and who am I to be unwilling to extend that to anyone else.

It's a great question.
If we're willing to answer it... 

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