How Do We Love Those We Find Difficult to Love in Our Live?
How do we love that son or daughter, father or mother, husband or wife, neighbor or fellow employee who returns insults, condemnation and hostility for love. What do we do? Do we give up emotionally or declare it’s impossible to love those that would despitefully use us and persecute us with their nasty attitudes and constant insults? There certainly has to be a better way then to engage in fight or flight when it comes to interactions with difficult people. Often when we try to love the unlovable, we fail time and time again. Then all we are left with is guilt and frustration.
The problem is that we are trying to love them ourselves when we should be receiving our love from Him so we can love them. The secret to loving the unlovable is to let God fill our love account with His love. “We love, because He first loved us” (I John 4:19). What power to love the unlovable exists in this verse. I have discovered that when I want to be more loving I must accept my place as a child of God. Eph. 5:1, 2 says, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us.” We cannot live a life of love unless we know that Christ loves us. When this happens we are free to forgive. If we don’t forgive a root of bitterness will start growing in us. At moments like that we must remember that we have been forgiven. When we do this it frees us to forgive the one who has hurt us. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
I know from years of experience that when I am hungry, angry, and lonely or tired I must immediately go to God’s bank of love and make a big withdrawal of His love or I will be the irritable or unloving person. Sometimes I am more successful at that then at other times. If I don’t halt and make that withdrawal of divine love, small incidents can blow up into world war III. After all, doesn’t Jeremiah 17:9 say that “the heart is deceitful above all things” and if this heart isn’t filled with God’s love, disaster will be the result.
When we try to love without drawing from God’s bank account of love it is like writing a check without adequate funds to cover that check. I John 4:9, 10 explains to us further how God made the deposit in our love account in order that we might have sufficient love funds to love the unlovable. “God showed how much He loved us by sending His only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
John then tells us in verse 11 to write a check from this divine bank of love. “Dear Friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”
The secret to loving the unlovable is to let “your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.” We have that opportunity as we work daily with the homeless and hurting. They need food, water, clothes and shelter but even more so they need the true love of Christ displayed to them in a deeper level than the material things we are providing them. Some have bitterness deep within their soul that only the grace of God and the healing, atoning blood of Jesus can heal. We may at times find ourselves caught up in the midst of their pain because we feel helpless, yet they actually feel hopeless. It is then we can pray for them and not only tell them of Jesus but show them through sharing the unconditional love we receive from God’s love bank.
God gives us the privilege of praying for those in need. As we do, they will experience the presence of the Almighty God right in their midst. We can ask the Lord to help us show the hurting and homeless the heart and love of Christ through us as we visit them.
When we see the angry look or the one sitting on the side looking frustrated, we must know that they are probably experiencing hopelessness and helplessness. Often times the simple thing to do is offer them a sandwich or a fan or other assistance, when deep down they really want to see the true love of Christ working in us. The hurt and ungratefulness you see displayed is actually a deep seeded pain that can be dealt with as they come to know Jesus.
Those in need are just like you and me. Some have a larger degree of pain and life experiences that have been made them respond the way they do and yet we can love them the way Christ loves us as we daily draw from God’s love account.