Loving the Unlovable
By Robin Houde
God loves us no matter how we behave. No matter what we say. Some people may struggle with accepting God’s unconditional love. In a world that rarely gives anything away for free, with absolutely no strings attached, it’s difficult to accept this wonderful gift from God. A gift that we haven’t earned and one we don’t deserve. The world has taught us that we have to give something to get something. This isn’t true with God’s love.
John 3:16 (NIV) – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
But what does His word say about how WE love others? Just because God loves us unconditionally doesn’t mean that we have to love others that way, does it? As difficult as it may be to accept God’s love, the truth is yes, we are called to love others the same way – whether they deserve it or not.
1 Peter 4:8 (NIV) – “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
I’m a fairly easy to get along with kind of gal. I’m usually in a good mood and try to be positive. This is why I have such a hard time dealing with negativity. If a conversation is going in the negative direction, I’ll try to sway it back to the positive side but with some it’s just not that easy.
God knows my limits and he’s always challenging me to improve but some days I feel like I’ve completely failed Him. There have been times when I know I haven’t demonstrated God’s love and even worse, I haven’t felt lovingly towards someone who clearly needed nothing more than to feel loved at that moment.
It’s entirely possible that the cranky bank teller just received divorce papers or the rude cashier has a sick child at home but can’t take off work because they’re a single parent and simply can’t afford it. Truth is, there’s no way of knowing what others are dealing with. So, we need to be as loving as we possibly can be and give grace even when we don’t feel like it.
It’s in these moments that God is cheering us on and believing in us to ‘love’ them even more, in spite of their attitude. Can you think of a time when someone showed you love even though you know you didn’t deserve it? It’s tough to love others when they’re unlovable but I’m glad God loves me when I’m not!
What’s even more difficult for me is when I make a considerate effort to pour out love for someone who is difficult to love and they refuse it. I used to become offended and bitter when this happened but God showed me that it’s in these times when I need to continue loving them anyway. Loving isn’t always easy. God always loves us and never gives up on us – even when we refuse Him! If we are to love like God, we need to forgive, honor and accept others, even those who are difficult.
1 John 4:7 (NIV) “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God”
The ability to love others comes from God and we can only love others this way when our hearts are full of God’s love. Trying to do it any other way just won’t work.