He said that he was difficult. He was right. He was so difficult to deal with that I focused more on avoiding him than trying to interact with him. For months, loving him became like a crap shoot. What came out of his mouth, and his everyday activities, determined if I was going to truly love him, or just cast him into the category of the ‘unlovables.’ Is there even such a thing as unlovable? Regardless, he was pushing me there.
I know I’m not alone on this. Many of us work with, live with, or have friends that are in some senses ‘unlovable.’ We’d rather ignore them than reconcile with them. Not only do we despise interacting with these persons, often times, we don’t think they deserve our love at all! This concept is not far from the ‘I’m done’ phenomenon. You know, if you “upset or irritate me, ‘I’m done’ with you.”
Fear not. Loving the unlovable can be done. While there will always be people who drive us to the edge and work our last nerves, God has called us to a higher place. These “unlovables” may make us feel like we can’t show the love, forgiveness or grace we want to show them. We can, however, overcome any amount of conflict or disagreement. There ARE ways to love those we have unjustly deemed ‘unlovable.’
Love through your Reactions to people
When it comes to our ability to react to people who are ‘unlovable,’ we must react correctly. These are characteristics you should be aware of when it comes to your behavior and reactions to them.
Be aware of the way you love
Is your love deemed by how the person treats you? Is it conditional? Is it determined by what they have or have not done?
Be careful to not love out of obligation or guilt
You love because you want to love. You love because you are called to. (John 13:34-35) You should not love someone because you feel guilty for previously mistreating them.
Do not try to love in or out of anger
When someone is unlovable, they can sometimes make you angry. Do not love in or out of anger. We display anger by saying or doing things out of retaliation with no regard for the other individual’s feelings. In the end, that type of love does not help the situation. It only leads to bitterness and resentment. When we are angry, we tend to hold on to it, thus making it impossible to love. The Apostle Paul told us that Love holds no records of wrong.
Love through your Actions with people
Reacting to ‘unlovable’ people is as important as how you are acting with them. Here are ways to approach the unlovable, as you try to love them.
Everything revolves around grace. The Lord constantly places grace upon us and forgives us. Why can we not do the same for those we find difficult to love? (Romans 3: 23-26)
Being able to love someone goes with having the ability to forgive them as well.
Are you honest with them? Are you honest with yourself? Why are they difficult? Are you being difficult? Communicate your feelings to them. Maybe they don’t know that loving them is difficult.
Humble yourself and serve them
Do you refuse to love because your pride won’t allow you to? Do you really have the right to say or think someone ‘doesn’t deserve’ your love?
Love, Love, Love
It’s difficult. I know. But even Jesus loved those who were difficult with him. He loved his disciples, who were difficult in their own rights. They asked him questions, fought amongst themselves, denied Him and even betrayed Him. Yet, He still loved them. We probably would have been like, look, ‘I’m done’ with you guys. You don’t listen. You ask too many questions. You keep lacking in faith. Jesus approached it differently. Jesus was patient with them and loved them unconditionally despite their difficulties. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
People are difficult, not unlovable
To be honest, no one is unlovable. People are difficult, but not unlovable. Our inability to love may be found in our disobedience and lack of wanting to love. And to just think of ourselves, there was at one point where we deemed ourselves unlovable, until the Lord came and snatched us up, and showed us His unconditional love and grace. We can show them the same. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
These are daily lessons I am learning when I interact with people who make loving them difficult. And in all honesty, they could probably say the same for me. In ourselves, we cannot love correctly. But with cross viewed lenses, we can love people like how Christ calls us to. Even the ones who we’ve deemed ‘unlovable.’
I leave you with Luke 6: 32-36:
‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ’sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ’sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ’sinners’ lend to ’sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.’
Do you believe that some people are ‘unlovable?’ How do you show love to them? Do you think that there is even a thing such as ‘unlovable?’