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How to Love the Unlovable People in Your Life

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We all have them in our lives—those people who are tough to love, who get on our nerves, so we avoid them like the plague. Yet our daily routines require that we encounter them frequently. For me, it’s a woman I see about once a week who is very aggressive in the way she speaks, monopolizes the conversation, and has very strong opinions. I don’t feel good after time spent with her and I’m always tempted to grab my phone and shoot a text to another friend to vent. Sometimes I give in and send the text. Other times I take a deep breath and ask God how to love the unloveable.

It’s not easy, but it can be done. It doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily end up liking them, 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 realize that in order to be free from the burden of not loving others, I have to look in three places. Here’s where to look and how to love the unlovable people in your life.

1. Look in.

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 me. When I think about the hurtful, stupid, and unbelievable things I have said and done in my life and how I’ve been forgiven, I cannot help but forgive others. Introspection is vital to preserving relationships and loving the unlovable in your life, too.

2. Look out.

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, and her own struggles, successes, and prayer needs. Once I forgave the people who hurt me as a child, I truly pitied them and began 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.

3. Look up.

The most encouraging word I have found about loving unlovable people is this: 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. 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.

Love is selfless and difficult, even in the best of circumstances, so loving the unlovable can feel impossible. But, I believe if we all look up, look in, and look out, we’ll truly be able to love others—and it is love that changes people.

How have you learned to love the unlovable in your life?

ASK YOUR CHILD...

How do you know I really love you?

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