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It’s Hard to Love the Unlovable (Luke 6:35)

Hidden Nuggets Series #75 – “But love your enemies, do good, and lend hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great…” – Luke 6:35

love the unlovableI can easily love my wife.

My kids…no problem

Those who treat me well…check.

Showing affection towards and giving to them is not difficult. I would sacrifice much if any of these were in need, without hoping for or expecting anything in return.

I expect those in Jesus’ day felt much the same way. So it must have shocked their system when Jesus explained they were to love their enemies. Can’t you imagine the expressions? Love the unlovable?

It doesn’t take much imagination because the statement makes me squeamish some 2,000 years after he said it. When I consider the ramifications of how I’m to love the unlovable – in other words those who hate me…or persecute me…or take advantage of me…or show little respect for me – well, I’m left feeling unable to answer the calling.

It’s tougher knowing that Jesus actually did follow through on loving those who sought his harm, right down to the Roman leaders who ordered soldiers to carry out his execution. I know this because as Jesus hung on the cross about to breath his last he uttered these remarkable words…

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Talk about an expression of caring and love that could result in no measure of return.

Why Love the Unlovable?

Why did Jesus live this out?

And why did he challenge us to love the unlovable?

I can only believe it’s on the off chance that in some circumstance where we show love, one of our enemies will be turned.

Near the cross that day stood a Roman centurion. He probably had given his soldiers the order to drive the spikes into Jesus’ hands and feet that day. For three hours he and others watched as Jesus suffered through the pain.

But he also listened. He heard everything that was said. And as the skies grew dark in the middle of the day and an earthquake rocked the countryside moments after Jesus died, the centurion had these words to say,

“Truly, this Man was the Son of God.” (Mark 15:39)

No one could convince me otherwise that Jesus’ expressions of love and forgiveness did not affect this man’s thinking and thus alter his entire life going forward.

One who once was an enemy seemingly was one no longer.

Putting Love’s Actions to the Test

Tomorrow, on Valentine’s Day we will shower expressions of love on the lovable. That will be easy. In the grand scheme of things that level of loving requires little effort.

But love’s actions are put to the test when applied to those we deem unlovable.

How are you viewing your enemies today? Are they worthy of and receiving your love?

Jesus thought so, which is why he gave us an example to follow. I’m not saying it will be easy. In fact, it will probably be the hardest love you ever show.

Questions: What person do you need to show love today? Do you find it hard to love the unlovable? How do you find the courage to love those who mistreat you? Do you think this is even practical – that we should show love to those who hate us?

Image by Leland Francisco at Flickr Creative Commons

Next Post: How to Enjoy a Life of Guilt Free Spending

Prior Post: Is There Ever a Time When You Shouldn’t Use a 401k?

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  1. It is not easy to love people that mistreat you or hate you. I try my best to practice forgiveness and kindness. Even if someone dislikes me, I am not going to be mean or rude to them, but treat them as I would treat anyone else. Life is to short to get caught up in the petty things.

  2. I don’t think I need to love those who treat me badly (fortunately I can’t really think of anyone), but I can practice forgiveness and move on. I try not to dwell in people who have wronged me in the past, but I don’t have warm and fuzzy feelings for them either. I think Jesus might be OK with that. 🙂

  3. What I’ve learned as I’ve grown older is that the ‘wrongs’ against you committed by your enemies or people that you see as against you probably have very little clue as to the impact that they’ve made in your life, and that anger and hatred and all the other baggage actually makes it where you’re causing more impact on your life than they actually are. Many of the perceived slights or insults are not intentional, or done so with very little afterthought.

  4. A truly profound sentiment that I really would have to work on to achieve. I must admit I do hold a grudge and tend to allow grievances to linger. Most of those I don’t love are primarily political big-wigs whom I believe are actively working to undermine this country. Only a couple of people who I believe to have wronged me individually. This is definitely something to ponder and work on.

    • “…I really would have to work on to achieve.” It is really tough Kathy. I’m not capable of doing it alone – with my own power. An inner strength is needed for this kind of love that I think only God can provide.

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