It’s easy to love people who are supportive, encouraging, and compassionate, but what about people who are rude, disrespectful, or hard to deal with?
I'm sure you've encountered at least one person in your life who drove (or currently drives) you crazy. Maybe it's your coworker who loves to insult people or that family member who rubs you the wrong way.
What do you do when you’re forced to associate with these people on a regular basis? Should you be fake and smile in their face while you're thinking, "I can't stand this person?"
I'm pretty good with adjusting to different personalities, but I admit that I have one person in my life that brings out the worst in me. Every time I have a conversation with this person, I find myself defensive and turned off from the things the person says.
How do I learn to love them anyway?
There's this story in the Bible that I love about Jesus being anointed by a sinful woman. She was known to be living in sin, but when she heard that Jesus was having dinner with one of Pharisees, she came to Him. The woman washed his feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and anointed them with a rare perfume.
Luke 7:39 says, "When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”
Basically, the Pharisee thought the woman was unworthy of touching Jesus, but then Jesus says, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.
God’s nature is to be loving. In His eyes, no one is unlovable. He loves both the sinner and the saint because we are all His children.
He wants you to show others the same unwavering love that He has for you. I'm likely to fail at learning on my own to love the person in my life who irritates me, but I can't fail if I allow the Holy Spirit to work in my heart and show me how to love them.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Here are 5 things that will help you show love when you're faced with difficult people (or people that simply just get on your nerves):
1. Looking in the mirror.
Don't be so blinded by the faults of others that you fail to see your own faults. We all have room to grow.
In the story I talked about earlier, the Pharisee was quick to judge the woman, but Jesus taught him a lesson about looking in the mirror at himself.
Be open to criticism, and always ask God to show you what areas in your life you need to grow in. 2. The Word of God.
You can’t change anyone, but you can allow God to change you. Read the Word, meditate on the Scriptures, and allow the Holy Spirit to fill you up. God's light and love displayed through you will cause others to be drawn to it and want to make changes in their own lives.
As you study the Word, the knowledge of God’s love will compel you to show love when it might not be convenient to do so.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says that we should pray without ceasing. Anytime you need help with something (and even when you don’t), pray. Ask God to divinely intervene in your life. Ask Him to help you to love those who aren't easy to love.
Never stop praying!
4. Listening to the person.
Instead of always talking and thinking about what you want to say when someone else is talking, try listening.
You never know what someone might've gone through or be going through. Ask questions and listen intently. Sometimes all it takes is genuine care and concern to get through to someone.
5. Finding common ground.
It's always possible to find a “silver lining” with someone. Finding common ground can establish a foundation for a growing relationship. Keep in mind though, growth takes time.
Even when you find a mutually beneficially solution, give people time to adjust. And make sure you play your part as well (you’re not off the hook).
When you’re faced with difficult people, think about the unconditional love that God has shown toward you when you ignored Him, doubted Him, and didn’t give Him the credit He deserves. Be better. Be different. Be the light.
Challenge: Do you have any "unlovable" person in your life? Based on the message today, what can you do to show the love of God toward them. I'd love to hear from you on the discussion page.
Know someone who'd benefit from this message? Send to a friend!
You were born to great great things. Keep moving forward!
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