Loving the unloveable | Faith | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | March 5, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: March 1, 2017 at 1:05 pm
Life is not a bed of roses or a bowl of cherries; therefore, it is not easy to love everyone who crosses your path. There is that family member who criticizes everything that you do. On your job, there may be a co-worker who never got over the fact that you got the promotion that he was expecting. In the community you may have been rewarded for your outstanding deeds as a citizen, but there is a small group who feels that someone else deserved that award more than you.
Perhaps, you have just been selected by your pastor to lead a new ministry, but “Sister Envy” just cannot accept this because she feels that she should have been selected. Then there are the in-laws who feel that you were just not good enough to marry their daughter. Maybe, you have a wayward son or daughter who rebels against everything you say, no matter what the case may be.
However, Luke 6:27-26 (ESV) says, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. …”
But, God, my God, sometimes loving the unlovable is so difficult to do! Please help me, Lord! Jesus said in John 13:35 (ESV), “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” He is not telling us to invade each other’s space, but we must love one another if we are going to be identified with Him.
Difficult people are everywhere and have been around since the beginning of time. Think of how the Israelites treated Moses when he led them out of Egypt from bondage to freedom. They grumbled and complained, calling him everything except a child of God. Moses didn’t retaliate against them; he treated them with humility and compassion. Even though they almost drove him to despair, he persevered anyhow.
They were downright mean, ungrateful, and undeserving. What an awesome demonstration of loving the unlovable!
I am sure at some point in all of our lives, we have gone out of the way to do wonderful acts of kindness for relatives, friends and others, yet they sometimes show us that it is not appreciated. When that happens, it hurts, but we can’t retaliate.
We have to remember why we did what we did in the first place. Wanting to take back that act of kindness would not be Christ-like.
You never know why God has placed this person or these people in your path. Who knows? It could be a lesson of growth for you, not them. Then how do we learn to love those who are difficult to love, especially in the face of ungratefulness?
According to Stacey Reaoch, a guest contributor for “Desiring God,” there are six practical ways to show love to a difficult person God has placed in your path:
Pray for your own heart.
Pray for them.
Move toward them, not away from them.
Find specific ways to bless and encourage them.
Give them grace, just as God extends grace to you.
Realize that you, too, could be the difficult person in someone else’s life!
In other words, don’t be oblivious to your own shortcomings and sins.
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)