We all have them in our lives—those people who are tough to love, those we avoid like the plague, and those who greatly annoy us—and yet our daily routines require we encounter them frequently. Sure, it’s easy to snub them and gossip about them, but ultimately such behaviors only serve to make us bitter. Which begs the question: How to we love the unlovable?
Well, first, it can be done. It doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily like these people, but we can treat them respectfully and kindly; we can love them on a deeper level. Through all of my personal experience, I have come to the realization that in order to be free from the burden of not loving others, I have to look three places: up, in and out. Let me explain further how to love the unlovable people in your life with these 3 steps.
Confession: Most of the time, the reason I struggle with loving unlovable people is my own perceptions of a situation and a refusal to forgive them, and unforgiveness only hurts myself. When I think about the hurtful, stupid, and unbelievable things I have said and done in my life and how I have been forgiven, I cannot help but forgive others. Introspection is vital to preserving relationships and loving the unlovable in your life, too.
Introspection is vital to preserving relationships and loving the unlovable in your life, too.
Only after I forgive someone and get my own emotions and perceptions aligned with what is true can I begin to see the person I struggle to love. Once I forgave my irrational teenage stepdaughter, I could see her, her own struggles, successes, and prayer needs. Once I forgave the people who disowned and molested me, I truly pitied them and begin to pray for them, to beg for mercy for them. Only after I forgave and looked at the situation more objectively did that person go from an enemy to just another hurt individual, and hurting people are easier to pray for and to love.
Being a family of faith, we try our best to mold our lives around the truth found within the Bible and the most encouraging word I have found when it comes to loving unlovable people is: I cannot do it on my own. I have to have God do it through me. Loving people as God loves is only something God can do and He can do it through me only if I allow Him to. I recognize my need for help from God as I look up. Set the example of how to love others for your children, too. Then use these ideas for how to raise loving kids.
We must remember that love is selfless and difficult, even in the best of circumstances, but loving the unlovable is nearly impossible. But, I believe if we all look up, look in, and look out, will we truly be able to love others and it is love that truly changes people. How have you learned to love the unlovable in your life?