Got anybody in your life who is hard to love? Yeah, me too. I think every person who seeks to follow Christ will have the “blessing’ of hard-to-love people. It’s one of the tools God uses to shape and mold us into the image of His Son, which is the point of our lives (Romans 8:29).
Hallmark makes love look so easy. It’s not. Love is hard. It’s painful. It’s demanding. It’s often unfair. Love will take you to hard places and cost you more than you ever imagined. That’s why people give up on love so easily.
I’m struggling with some of those people so this morning I prayed: “Lord, help me to love as You love.” He sent me to 1 John. I learned some stuff I thought I’d share with you. By the way, I purposefully left off the actual verse so you would look these up for yourself.
First, I cannot love difficult people on my own. I can only love them out of the love God has for me (4:16).
Love comes only from Him (4:7). (Not my human emotions).
God is love (4:16). He has lavished His great love on me (3:1).
Because God loves me, I can love them (4:19).
Because I know God – who is love – I can love them (4:8)
Because He lives in me through His Spirit, His love for others lives in me as well and completes and perfects my insufficient love so that I can love them (1:12, 17, 18).
God loved me sacrificially (4:9-10). The love I show to others must follow suit (4:11).
God expects me to love them (4:20-21).
When I consider how unloveable I have been – and often still am – I marvel that God loves me. Yet He does. So how can I, as His child, in whom His Spirit dwells, withhold love from those who are unloveable to me? I have read the Bible from cover to cover and I find no place where God said, “Stand up for your rights!” But over and over I find two things I lean on hard: God calls me to love, and He promises to fight for me.
Beloved, I don’t know how much clearer it can be. We are called to love God and love others – even, especially, the ones who make it hard to love. They need it most of all.