Loving Difficult People In Our Life

How do we love that son or daughter, father or mother, husband or wife, neighbor or fellow employee who returns insults, condemnation and hostility for love. What do we do? Do we give up emotionally or declare it’s impossible to love those that would despitefully use us and persecute us with their nasty attitudes and constant insults? There certainly has to be a better way then to engage in fight or flight when it comes to interactions with difficult people.



Often when we try to love the unlovable, we fail time and time again. Then all we are left with is guilt and frustration.
The problem is that we are trying to love them ourselves when we should be receiving our love from Him so we can love them. The secret to loving the unlovable is to let God fill our love account with His love. “We love, because He first loved us” (I John 4:19). What power to love the unlovable exists in this verse. I have discovered that when I want to be more loving I must accept my place as a child of God. Eph. 5:1, 2 says, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us.”
We cannot live a life of love unless we know that Christ loves us. When this happens we are free to forgive. If we don’t forgive a root of bitterness will start growing in us. At moments like that we must remember that we have been forgiven. When we do this it frees us to forgive the one who has hurt us. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

I know from years of experience that when I am hungry, angry, and lonely or tired I must immediately go to God’s bank of love and make a big withdrawal of His love or I will be the irritable or unloving person. Sometimes I am more successful at that then at other times. If I don’t halt and make that withdrawal of divine love, small incidents can blow up into world war III. After all, doesn’t Jeremiah 17:9 say that “the heart is deceitful above all things” and if this heart isn’t filled with God’s love, disaster will be the result.

When we try to love without drawing from God’s bank account of love it is like writing a check without adequate funds to cover that check. I John 4:9, 10 explains to us further how God made the deposit in our love account in order that we might have sufficient love funds to love the unlovable. “God showed how much He loved us by sending His only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

John then tells us in verse 11 to write a check from this divine bank of love. “Dear Friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”

The secret to loving the unlovable is to let “your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.” We have that opportunity as we work daily with the homeless and hurting. They need food, water, clothes and shelter but even more so they need the true love of Christ displayed to them in a deeper level than the material things we are providing them. Some have bitterness deep within their soul that only the grace of God and the healing, atoning blood of Jesus can heal. We may at times find ourselves caught up in the midst of their pain because we feel helpless, yet they actually feel hopeless. It is then we can pray for them and not only tell them of Jesus but show them through sharing the unconditional love we receive from God’s love bank.

God gives us the privilege of praying for those in need. As we do, they will experience the presence of the Almighty God right in their midst. We can ask the Lord to help us show the hurting and homeless the heart and love of Christ through us as we visit them.

When we see the angry look or the one sitting on the side looking frustrated, we must know that they are probably experiencing hopelessness and helplessness. Often times the simple thing to do is offer them a sandwich or a fan or other assistance, when deep down they really want to see the true love of Christ working in us. The hurt and ungratefulness you see displayed is actually a deep seeded pain that can be dealt with as they come to know Jesus.

Those in need are just like you and me. Some have a larger degree of pain and life experiences that have been made them respond the way they do and yet we can love them the way Christ loves us as we daily draw from God’s love account.
I have experienced years of working with hurting people. Certainly there have been times when it would have been easy to give up. Yet Jesus doesn’t give up on me, so I can’t give up on them, God’s creation. He promises he will never leave nor forsake us, yet working with those who are hurting and in pain is not always an easy walk. It forces me to deal with my uncertainties, fears, and disappointments as I try to help them. As I reach out I must always remember that “the Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (Ps. 103:8).

In spite of the fact you may feel that your expectations for that person weren’t met, your life has still touched them in a good way. It is written in Isaiah 55:11: “so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it”.

Perhaps the Lord has allowed you to see the depth of the pain of those in need in order that you may continue to pray for them. Mother Teresa wrote: ‘the poor are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things’. She saw the true condition of those she was helping and as we help the less fortunate we are an extension of the love of God and hands of Jesus. Though the things you did for them seemed to not be appreciated at that moment, know that you have shown them that God loves them and is providing for them through caring people who are meeting their needs in a very tangible way.”

Many people have a very difficult time receiving real love. Real love is a love drawn from God’s love account and involves genuine concern, compassion, and a desire to see the best for the other person. When it does come, it’s sometimes hard to believe it’s the real thing, particularly if one has been hurt in the past. As a result, many go through life never really receiving love nor giving it. They settle for passionate affairs that leave them feeling empty and ultimately alone. Real love ultimately comes from the source of love—God. After all, love is not just one of the characteristics or attributes of God. For 1 John 4:16 says, “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”

Ruth shows her love for her mother-in-law, Naomi, by declaring, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”(Ruth 1:16-17)
True love from God’s divine love account is described in 1 Cor.13 and other places in the Bible including Song of Songs 8:6-7 where it says, “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” Love in community and love in marriage, is so priceless that even the richest king cannot buy it. Real love is accepted as a gift from God and shared under the direction of His word.

Paul described his love for his Jewish brothers and sisters by stating, “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel”(Romans 9:2). “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.”(Romans 10:1) But Paul doesn’t stop there in Romans 12:9-10 he says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Sincere love means helping others become better human beings by showing them what great love that God has for them as described in John 3:16, 17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

We see throughout the scriptures the great love that God has placed in our love account. We are told, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ ‘Do not murder.’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not covet,’ and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law”(Romans 13:8-10). We are permanently in debt to Christ for the love He has poured out on us. The only way we can repay this debt is to love others. The fact is, Christ’s love for us is so great we will never be able to repay it. Therefore the debt we will always owe is the debt to love.

The story of Ruth is the story of love between a Moabite woman by the name of Ruth and her Jewish mother-in-law, Naomi. As widows, Ruth and Naomi only had difficult times to look forward too. Then when Naomi got the following news, her hope for the future changed. “Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. ‘The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz, she said. ‘The Lord bless him!’ Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. ‘He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.’ She added, ‘That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemers’”(Ruth 2:19-20).
A kinsman-redeemer was a relative who took responsibility for the extended family when a woman’s husband died and she could not marry the brother of the dead husband. If no one came forward, she would probably live the rest of her life in poverty. Jesus is our Kinsman-redeemer who, although He was God, came to earth to save us. As a result of Jesus’ death and resurrection, He has redeemed us from sin, death and the devil and purchased us to be His own possession. Talk about love, “for you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect”(1Peter 1:18-19).

Sharing the love of God is one of the greatest privileges given to each of us. That’s why Isaiah declared, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners”(Isaiah 61:1). That proclamation was directly fulfilled when Jesus came into this world (Matt. 11:5).

Now you and I have been sent forth to share the love and hope Jesus provides through His death and resurrection (Matt.28:19,20), We have an opportunity to do this as we feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and visit the sick and imprisoned (Matt.25:31-46) and work to preserve creation. We have been sent forth to be instruments of hope and help now as we share the message of God’s eternal love demonstrated through Jesus Christ. In order to do this we must help people to see their need for a Savior and how Scripture makes it absolutely clear that Jesus Christ is that Savior.

Sharing God’s love involves reaching out to people in their time of need like Jesus did to the woman at the well in John 4. Such reaching out includes sharing the fact that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”(Roman 3:23). Unless one recognizes that they have sinned and repent of those sins and turn to Jesus who paid the price for sin through His death and resurrection, they will die in their sins and go to hell. That’s why Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Being a witness or an evangelist is being one who the Holy Spirit is working through to share the love of God. There is no greater love then that which God has given. “You see, at just 6 the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”(Romans 5:6-8).

It is when we are awakened to God’s love for us we become free to love those who are unlovable. “What a wonderful God we have – He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does He do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them the same help and comfort God has given us” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

So what can you do when you encounter someone who needs love and encouragement and you don’t know what to say? Open your Bible and believe it when it says, “for everything that was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 5:4)

The Bible is God’s check book full of the promises of His love. No matter how hopeless the situation may appear God’s promises, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).

Others may leave us, ignore us, lie about us and curse us but it’s a fact God will always love us, no matter what. This is how He expresses that love in Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” This means you and I have a bank account filled with so much love it will never run out.

When its hard to love, take a step of faith and let the check be an act of love or a kind word. Remember love is a fruit and now God is inviting you into the orchard of His love. There you will find according to Gal. 5:22, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” Now abide in Christ and let the fruit of His love come forth.

We all have difficult people in our lives. Often, they triggers us because we have unhealed wounds. If you or someone you know is in need of Holy Spirit led inner healing, please reach out to us. Also be sure to share your testimonies, struggles, questions, etc. in the comment section. We love to interact with you and hear what you have to say.

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