Why does God allow difficult people into our lives? John Ortberg said in his book The Me I Want to Be that God often uses other people to help us become the best version of who God made us to be – maybe even more than the people we like.
The Message paraphrases Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:43ff like this: “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.”
If God wants to grow some quality in you, He MAY send someone your way who normally makes you want to react in the opposite way of that quality. If you need more love, He may send an unlovable person right to you. Or, if you need to grow in your capacity to confront people who are the hard-to-confront intimidating types, He may give you some unwanted practice. If you need to develop hope, He may give you a dose of discouraging people who criticize you and gossip about you.
If God got rid of all the people in our lives who had some nasty quirks and frustrating habits, we would actually never become as strong as God wants us to be. We should humbly remember, that we may have some of our own quirks that God may be using in someone else’s life to make them stronger. Let’s not embrace those quirks. It’s not an honorable thing to be a pain in the neck to someone even though God may use that to help them grow! Instead, let’s pray and seek to become people who are a source of edification as we build others up according to their needs.