House: Loving Difficult People




On Sunday Night (October 11th) at Sunday Night Live, the youth are going to take a look at the tv show House and take a look at a few bible stories and see if we can combine the two and figure out how we can deal with difficult people. Below is the ‘House” banner and the intro to the lesson:


Imagine this as a frightening vision of hell—spending eternity locked in a room with Dr. Gregory House. Sure, Dr. House is a fictional character on a television show, and we can turn him off at will. But for those who watch the Fox drama House for the young doctors working for this insufferable mentor or for the patients and colleagues unfortunate enough to be targets for the doctor’s verbal and emotional abuse.

House (Hugh Laurie) is a brilliant diagnostician, a medical Sherlock Holmes who solves life-or-death cases that no one else can crack. But for someone whose job it is to heal, House is also a giant pain. He’s brutal and acerbic to those hoping to learn from him. He can be unbearably insulting to patients. He’s rude to his boss, Dr. Lisa Cuddy, in ways that would get most people fired. He routinely disobeys direct orders and violates hospital rules.

And he’s just as difficult for the one person who is willing to be his friend—Dr. James Wilson—as he is for his subordinates. If it weren’t for House’s unsurpassed talent as a doctor, it’s probably fair to say that few, if any, of the characters on the show would want House around. And it’s not that they can’t sympathize with him at some level.

House has a medical history that left him unable to walk without the aid of a cane and wracked him with chronic pain. Under those circumstances, most people would be       pretty grouchy.

Obviously House is an extreme case. But all of us encounter difficult people at some time. For young people, who are developing a sharpened sense of justice and fairness, having such a person in their lives can be quite challenging (especially if this person is a teacher or other authority figure).

Fortunately Scripture is filled with examples of difficult people and offers us help in dealing with them. In the beginning Adam and Eve rebelled against God, choosing to gotheir own way. Cain murdered his brother Able and then lied to God about it. Jacob cheated his brother, father, and uncle and even wrestled with God. Not long after God miraculously delivered them from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites, while in the wilderness, abandoned God by building an idol in the form of a golden calf. The prophets struggled with kings who acted contrary to God’s will. Jesus chose as his disciples twelve men who often were clueless and who denied him, in his hour of need.


Jesus also deliberately sought out tax collectors and sinners, people who had a reputation for being difficult. Few people would fault God for giving up on such people. But God doesn’t give up. Instead God seeks out difficult people. (See, for example, the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:1-7.) In fact, every person is a sinner, and every person is sometimes difficult. But God loves us all anyway. Paul writes, “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us” (2 Corinthians 5:19). God shows grace and mercy to all of us, though we are difficult people, and gives us the responsibility of extending grace and mercy to the difficult people in our lives.


Offering grace and mercy to someone in a spirit of Christian love doesn’t mean we have to like that person or accept everything he or she does. Instead, it means that we are concerned for that person’s well being and that we never close the door to the possibility of relationship. It means, most of all, that we recognize that others are fellow children of God, even if they are difficult.


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