“For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? For sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” ~ Luke 6:32-35
You know that person who always insults you? Who interrupts your stories or mocks you publicly, trying to get everyone to belittle you? Have you seen the drunk on the corner? The town bum who stops you to beg for loose change to buy another beer every time you go to the grocery store? Remember, the person who used you? When you were at your lowest point, he/she took advantage of you and amplified your negative situation. Everyone of these (and so many more) are unlovable, yet in Luke 6, Jesus clearly commanded that we love them anyway. How?
Often I remind myself of my own state. I am unlovable. To name a few of my flaws: I’m stubborn, anxious, blunt, obsessive, pessimistic, and temperamental. God didn’t care. But here’s the kicker, and it’s really good! Christ didn’t wait for me to become perfect before dying for me; instead we see in Romans 5:8 that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This means that without changing, as unlovable as I was (am), I was still redeemed!
As God’s child, this knowledge should inspire me to become more loving and forgiving of my fellow man. It should be a beacon brightly shining showing me the way I should act, and yet too many times I ignore the lesson. I justify my attitude by mentally listing my “opponent’s” faults–if only they were kinder, if only they did not purposefully abuse and manipulate me, if only they tried to change. Praise God that He didn’t take this approach with me!
To love the unlovable person, we must recognize why they act the way they do. Someone or something has hurt them and their response is to lash out and keep people from hurting them again. Our response should be to recognize their pain and then to reach out to them in love.
As John taught in I John 4:10-11, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” We must remember that we too are unlovable, yet Christ died for us anyway. We must remember that our job is to spread His love to an unloving and unlovable world!
So what about you? How do you love the unlovable? How do you show the unlovable God’s love?