Let’s face it – some people are just hard to love. The people where you unfortunately cringe when you see their name pop up on your phone, or the people you avoid running into at the grocery store. As much as we don’t want to admit to this as Christians, it’s a truth that we have to face living in the world we do.
I’m going to share with you that I use to be one of those people… someone hard to love. I had family members tell me before that I was an “energy sucker”. Meaning I was so negative that the moment I walked into a room any positivity was sucked away.
That was how bad it was for me before Jesus. I was literally that girl you avoided at the grocery store.
There may be people like that in your life. It could be a family member, a girl in your bible study, or a co-worker. Maybe they act rude toward you, constantly have a negative attitude, or intentionally try to push your buttons.
As Jesus loved, we are called to love others. Even when it’s hard.
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?” Matthew 5:43-47 (NLT).
Alright, so we know what we are supposed to do. But how do we do it?
- Set Boundaries – Jesus never called for us to spend all of our time with these people. For example, if a person you are struggling with calls you, let them know you only have a five minutes to talk – and when the five minutes is up, remind them that you have to go. You are giving them the time they need and deserve as a person – without allowing them to dominate the conversation.
- Keep it Shut – ‘If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all’ is a rule for a reason. You will see me write this over and over, because it’s true and it works. If someone is pushing your buttons, it’s best to keep your mouth shut then to say something in anger that you won’t be able to take back.
- Bring on the Kindness – Kindness is contagious, friends. If you keep constantly pouring God’s joy into these people in your life, fruit will bear. We may not see it right away and maybe we will never see it in our lifetime, but remember why we do this. Because Jesus loved us when we are hard to love.
I pray that through these steps we can keep healthy relationships while loving others in our life who may be more difficult. And who knows – maybe through your love they will be able to share a story like mine: A girl who turned from an energy sucker into an encourager. All because of Jesus.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me even when I’m difficult. Thank you for Jesus who redeemed me. Please help me see people as You see them and love them as You love them. Give me the heart and the patience to do so. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Discussion: What have you done to show love to someone who may be harder to love? How did it impact them or change the situation?
This post is part of the May series: Rewriting Relationships. If you enjoyed this post, I would be so humbled if you would subscribe via email.