A Prayer for Grace to Enjoy, not Just Endure, Differences in Others

     May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Rom 15:5-7 (NLT)

     Dear heavenly Father, one of the surest indicators of my ongoing need of the gospel is revealed by the way I relate to different personality types when I’m in a hurry or under stress. I’ve discovered this, yet again, in this season of having to accomplish many important tasks in a small window of time.

     I stand convicted Lord—convicted that my passion to get a job done quickly often takes precedent over my calling to love people well. Rather than enjoying the diversity of perspectives, insights, and emotional wiring in others, I endure it at best and resent it at worse. Rather than heeding Paul’s words in this Scripture to “accept each other just as Christ has accepted you (me),” I often want (expect) people to see and do things my way—which is “obviously” the best way.

     Father, I am so glad you are the God who “gives patience and encouragement,” because I need both. I need patience to enjoy and accept the rich diversity of people and perspectives that surround me, where I live, work, and play. Forgive me for looking to my Myers Brigg’s profile as an INTP, rather than my truer identity as a man in Christ to justify my relational style.

     And Father I need encouragement to know that the older I get, the kinder and more flexible I can become. Suffering from the “hardening of the categories” may be normal, but it isn’t necessary. When others tend to “grate on my nerves,” give me grace in my heart. When I want to roll my eyes in annoyance, help me roll up my sleeves in service. For your glory, Father, make me more like Jesus. So very Amen I pray, in his wonderful and merciful name.