How do you love the unlovable? I try so hard to see the best in people, but sometimes they can be so hard to deal with. I’ve written on this topic before (In The World, Not Of It), but it’s something that has been brought up again and again lately through discussions I’ve been having and in my own day to day struggles.There comes a point where every day just gets harder and harder as you deal with the same things. How do I to continue to respond with love to those who make it so difficult on a regular basis?
Continually Responding With Love –
I’ve said before that loving the unlovable is only something we can do through Christ. It is a true sign that we have been sanctified, because forgiveness is not the natural response of our fallen hearts.
To quote a comment that I recently made on a different blog:
Once we have tasted the sweetness of God’s amazing grace and understand what He truly did for us, that forgiveness of others becomes possible – not necessarily easy (we are still human), but doable through Christ. Only those who truly understand the gospel can learn to love their enemies, do good to those who hate them, bless those who curse them, and pray for those who spitefully use them. For if we love only those who love us, how are we any different from the world? But when, through Christ, we love those who are unlovable, we are a testimony of the very love that we have received – pointing others to God and His glory, which is the purpose of our Christian lives, is it not?
This is the key to responding to others with the love that has been given us – it all revolves around one thing: the Gospel. The better we understand the Gospel, the better we will respond to those who seem unlovable. I’m not just talking about knowing the story of how Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose again so that you could be forgiven, but truly understanding the fact that without God’s grace you are hopelessly lost in your sin, in rebellion to the almighty God of the universe, and therefore fully deserving of eternal punishment. Yet despite all this, you have been redeemed – your punishment has been taken by Christ, who bore all that you rightly deserved. The filth of sin that was once yours has been removed from your account and you, undeserving as you are, have been brought into a right relationship with God, viewed now as holy and blameless and above reproach in His sight. What love! What grace! To pardon such an offense! How can this not affect the way that we respond to others?
“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us…” -1 John 3:16a
And that, I believe, is the only way that we can continually respond in love; to keep always fresh in our minds the amazing love that we have been shown, to be ever aware of our desperate need for Christ, and to realize that we are daily dependent upon the grace of our great God. Submerse yourself in the Gospel every day, always mindful of His love, and you will be better able to respond in love to those who are difficult to love.
What are some practical ways that you can remind yourself of these things on a daily basis?