When you hear the word “love,” what comes to mind? Most of us think of our spouses, children, family, or friends. We think of people who are easy to love, because they love us back.
In Luke 6:32, Jesus says “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?" Jesus goes on to issue this challenge to his followers: “But love your enemies, do good to them” (Luke 6:35). It is not enough for us to love the people that are easy for us to love; we are called to love those who are hard to love.
But how? Do we just put on a smile and make fake conversation until we can make the quickest exit?
Jesus has given us the ability to love everyone, even those we think we can’t love.
5 Ways To Love Someone Who’s Hard To Love
1. Pray often (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Every morning, ask God to help you to see people through His eyes. He created each one of us, and it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance. When we start to see people the way God sees people, we begin to treat people the way God treats people.
If you’re really struggling to love one person in particular, commit to praying for him or her every day. It’s nearly impossible to hate someone if we’re constantly asking God to move in that person’s life.
2. Humble yourself (Romans 12:3)
None of us is perfect. We can be hard to love, too. Think of how you would want to be treated in this situation, and treat that person the same way.
"The ability to forgive anything and love anyone is a uniquely Christian characteristic."
3. Learn their story (Colossians 3:12-13)
What if the reason that co-worker jumps down your throat every time you mention church is because he’s mad at God or the church for something that happened in the past? We’re often quick to judge and quick to blame instead of taking time to understand others’ backgrounds and how the past affects the people they are today.
4. Forgive often. (Ephesians 4:32)
It is hard to forgive the people who hurt us, but not forgiving someone causes us to become bitter and angry. We cannot love anyone well from that place. Make a choice to forgive everyone, and experience the freedom and peace that God promises.
5. Set healthy boundaries. (Proverbs 13:20)
Jesus healed a lot of people, but He was only close to about 12. Loving someone doesn’t mean you have to be that person’s best friend. We can love even the most difficult people by being kind, meeting their needs, and showing them respect.
Jesus said people will know we are His followers by the way we love (John 13:35). The ability to forgive anything and love anyone is a uniquely Christian characteristic.
Loving people who don’t love us back can feel thankless at times. But we have a Savior who can relate. Jesus loved us before we knew who He was or wanted a relationship with Him.
We are who we are because of friends and a God who never gave up on us. And if we’re committed to loving others well, one day the hard to love folks in our lives will be able to look back and say the same.
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