Easy to Live With

by | Mar 1, 2008

The best friends I have are the books which make up my personal library. One of these “friends” captured my interest some time ago. The title of the book is Easy to Live With. As is my habit, I scanned the preface to see what the author, Dr. Leslie Parrott, had to say in his introduction to the book. The first two paragraphs warrant the attention of every dedicated follower of Christ.

Dr. Parrott writes,

“The real test of maturity is the ability to make ourselves easy to live with.


But this goal many people never reach.


They will be hard to live with until the day they die.


Heaven will have to do radical surgery if they are going to be people to enjoy forever.”

He continues,

“Some kinds of religious experiences—glossolalia, legalism and liturgical worship, for instance—seem very satisfying to people who live compartmentalized lives.


But the same people can be miserable human beings at home.


Some people have a ‘sound’ doctrine which can be defended with vigor [but] who cannot even apply it effectively in getting along with members of their families.”

Most of us, no doubt, are in agreement with the above quote. This is especially true when thinking of the other fellow. Right? It is a natural tendency (or is it carnal?) to be hard on the other person and easy with oneself. The question is: “Am I easy to live with?”

Recently I was sitting in a lawyer’s office. Conversation somehow drifted to an incident my lawyer friend had at his grandchild’s home. Just before he left, the little one looked up at Grandpa and said he wished Grandpa wouldn’t leave. When he asked why, the child answered, “Because when you’re here, Daddy and Mommy are more patient with me.”

Humorous? A little. However, serious reflection soon dispels all laughing. Paul S. Rees, speaking about this very type of situation, won my complete approval when he observed,

“My dear friends, we have had at times a kind of eloquence in a camp meeting or a holiness convention that seemed seraphic—


Oh, how heavenly it was!—


but there was nothing that corresponded to it in the patience that was demonstrated by the preacher, let us say, with his own wife and children in the home.” (Taken from his sermon, “Mandate for Mission,” delivered at a conference on evangelism in Cincinnati, Ohio).

Swifter than the speed of an arrow from an Indian’s bow comes the all-too-justified accusation that some holiness people simply are not holy. Some local churches could just as well close their doors because the community has come to the conclusion that those within the church can’t get along, so why go there? Why join a group of people who are hard to live with?

Thank God not all churches are this way.

Not all Christians are at odds with each other. But too many are! Too many are hard to cope with on the church board, in the Sunday school class, at home, on the job, and in the community.

You do not have to be a compromiser to be easy to live with. You are not a weak-kneed or spineless Christian if you are easy to live with at church. It’s a mark of emotional, mental, and spiritual maturity to be easy to live with.

St. Paul admonished us, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). Let’s not be so stubborn as to refuse to explore all possible means to live peaceably with others. Nine times out of ten, the crisis of getting along with others lies with us—not others!

Rev. Glenn Black, superintendent of the Kentucky District, The Wesleyan Church, is a former editor of God’s Revivalist, in which this article first appeared, August 28, 1980.