We all know them: the coworker who gossips, the in-law who is always complaining about something, the neighbor with the wandering dog. We go out of our way to avoid these people, figuring that if we don’t interact with them, we are being good Christians because we aren’t being mean to them. But Jesus doesn’t make allowances for our feelings.
In 1 John 2:6, we are told that “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” And Jesus’ life was characterized by love for everyone — even people we find hard to love. Sometimes it can be difficult to obey Jesus, but He tells us clearly, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me” (John 14:21). Jesus expects us to love people like He loves them, even the ones we don’t like.
3 Ways To Love The Unlovables
- Swallow our pride. Loving someone that we don’t like requires us to swallow our pride. It is easier to be humble if we remember that God loves us even when we’re not lovable (Romans 5:8). Just like we’re called to forgive because He forgave us (Colossians 3:13), we can love because He loves us (Psalm 145:8).
- Make love an action. Remember, love isn’t always an emotion we feel, but an action we take. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describes love in action: it’s patient, kind, humble, selfless. As we humbly and patiently serve the people who annoy us, our attitudes often shift, and we begin to see them as Jesus sees them.
- Follow Jesus’ example. As followers of Jesus, loving the unlovable person is a privilege and responsibility, because by loving like Jesus does, we may be able to point someone to Jesus and help them to love Him, too (John 13:35).
If we focus on who Jesus is, rather than the actions of an “unlovable” person, it’s easier to live like Jesus and love people like He would. We can’t grow in our walk with Jesus or become more like Him if we don’t obey what He has commanded us to do. As we choose to love, God helps us to express that love.
- Who do you avoid because they irritate you?
- How can you show Christ-like love to that person today?
- What is one habit you can adopt that will help you to live like Jesus lived?