Occasionally I meet a Judge Judy fan. When I ask them what it is about her show they particularly like I pretty much get the same answer, which is, they really like it when she is cutting and mean to the litigants. They enjoy seeing her put people down. Why is that? I find myself wondering if we have a vicarious experience when we witness someone being rude. Is it something we want to do but can’t get up the courage to do or is it because we are trying to be a Christian and we know Jesus wouldn’t do that?
Ah, but He did. Read Matthew 23. There He calls the leaders of the nation “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “tombs – clean on the outside and rotten on the inside,” “snakes,” and more. However, I don’t think He is giving us license to go about slicing up people. If we read carefully 99% of the time it is best for us to hold our tongues because we usually regret it if we don’t. The only times Jesus went after someone was when He saw that person using power and privilege to hurt people who were unable to defend themselves.
If we really want to be happy and satisfied with our exchanges with others, we should follow Jimmy Durante’s counsel in his old song, “It’s so important to make someone happy. If we make someone happy we will be happy too.” “Love is the answer.” But let’s be realistic. Some people are unlovable. Some people just push our buttons and bring out the worst in us. This is where “agape” enters the scenario. When Jesus counsels us to love He isn’t saying “Like.” He is saying we should wish the best for others. We should pray for them to prosper. We just don’t have to best friends.