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Loving the Unlovable

Christine Becker on May 14, 2013 - 1:06 pm in Discipleship

Love the Unlovable image

Loving the unlovable is a topic that piques the curiosity of all mankind.

Why?

Because it contradicts the very nature we possess. To our carnal minds, love is conditional. Loving someone who isn’t returning our efforts or affection feels like a waste of time. We love to be loved.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Let’s dive right into what the Holy Spirit has shown me this morning:

1. What is love?

Love is a choice. Yes, that’s correct. It is a choice, not an emotion. And God is love. Guess what this means? Love is not a feeling that we can passively muster up on our own for the benefit of others. We need God’s help.
Love is an intentional choice we make every single day. 
More significantly, this topic of love is of the utmost importance to the heart of God. If we are truly interested in becoming more like Jesus, we must learn to love like Him. There’s really no way around it: the Christian faith is about love.
The Lord has shown me (through revelation of the Holy Spirit and by His scripture) a truth that my heart desperately needs to hear. And perhaps you need to hear it, too. This is a bold statement, but I am going to say it:

Beloved, if we are loving others (colleagues, family members, friends, spouses, associates) in any other way outside of what scripture identifies as “love,” then are we really loving them?
Let that soak in for a moment. Did we as human beings even partake in defining love? I can’t recall God ever asking man how to love someone. Can you?

From the dawn of creation, God created mankind with the need to love and to be loved. To be in relationship with Him and with others. Especially Jesus. Our sweet, sweet Jesus that shook the very core of the earth by demonstrating the rawest and deepest form of love ever expressed: laying down His life for each of us.

So, is it really appropriate for us to say that we are “truly” loving others, if we are not in fact loving people the way God does? The way He instructs us to in His word?
Here’s an activity for today. Think of that someone. You know who they are. And reflect on their name(s) as you read this scripture.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

How did it go? Difficult? Humbling? Eye-opening? Yep, it was challenging for me too. Unfortunately, I am realizing that there are quite a few people that I don’t even come close to loving well. But, I’m so grateful that God already knows we come up short (and will as long as we live on earth), and He extends a bounty of grace in helping us to fulfill His commands (sigh of relief).

If we make the choice to love and to seek Him, He will teach us how to do it. Praise be to God!!!

2. What marks a person as unlovable?

The term “unlovable” is defined as not attracting or deserving love from another, or one who is not easy to love. Let me clear up a few things here.

  • There are (and will be) people in our lives that are more difficult to love than others.
  1. No one has been created without the need to be loved and the ability to love, since we are made in God’s image and He is love.

 

Therefore, we can conclude that all people need to be loved, whether the task of loving is difficult or easy. Whoever the person is and regardless of what they have done, they need love. This will never change.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

 

Love should be the factor that separates us from the world.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 NLT

Most often, an “unlovable” person is one who is driven by fear. They have not been loved well (if at all) and are afraid to be hurt again. Therefore, this person projects an image of rejection through withdrawal, contempt, and criticism towards themselves or others. They could act independent as if they need no one, or they could feel unworthy of other people’s time.

I know this well because I was one of them.

 

Deep down, they long for someone to be kind to their soul and show them acceptance. But, this does not come naturally to a human being. Our natural inclination is to do they very thing they fear – to reject them. We must intentionally choose to love through the aid of the Holy Spirit.

3. How do we love the unlovable?

Ask God for help. It’s really this simple. Here a few things that have made it easier for me to love difficult people:

1.  Focus on the positive. Even if it is just one good attribute they possess, focus on it.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 NASB

2. Pray that God will show you this person through His eyes. Whatever He shows you is true, because He is truth. And that truth will set you free from any negative feelings and misconceptions.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

3. Pray before you meet or speak with the person. Be prepared.  This way you are on the offense (ready to love), never on the defense (ready to react negatively).

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

Love is an intentional choice! May we love others the way God has shown love to us.

Photo provided by loveisallthereis.blogspot.com

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