There is a running joke among my friends that "Rob hates people," as in, "Rob, do you want to go to a ball game tonight? To the clubs? To a live filming of Regis & Kelly?" No...I hate people.
I don't really hate people; just people en masse. The throngs of latte-seekers that come into the store. The people I have to contend with to get a tennis court. The lines at the DMV. Airports. Humanity itself, sometimes.
If you look through the Bible, Jesus had to deal with crowds a lot. People were always following him, thousands of them. Some were sincere, some were probably just following along for the show. They were often hungry and rowdy and didn't respect private property (like when they ripped apart a man's roof in Luke 5:19). In Jesus' public ministry--the job the Father had assigned to him--he was rarely left alone.
Despite this, Jesus never despised or cursed the masses; he cared for them and loved them and sometimes pitied them because they were "like sheep without a shepherd." Jesus came to save individuals, but he also came to save humanity--the very group I catch myself cursing so often. Despite his solitary ways, Jesus was also a real people person. He didn't avoid crowds or shirk his responsibility for them, though he may have wanted to at times.
It occurred to me recently that it is not Christ-like to hate people (duh), whether that be individuals or groups or whatever--there is no real justification for it. I still hate crowds, but maybe I can find another way to start sentences besides "these idiots..." when I am at work, and can stop judging people who choose to travel in mobs, or stop cursing people who want what I want. I can learn to stifle my ego a bit and put my prejudices aside. Consider it my Lenten sacrifice.
If you love the shepherd (*sigh)...you gotta love the sheep.