Loving the Unlovable

When you look back on the Gospels, there are several instances of individuals that society would turn a blind eye to, only to see Jesus call for them to approach Him. Recall the leper and the demon-possessed man as just a couple of examples found in Mark’s account (see Mark 1:40-44; 5:1-20).

Jesus not only welcomed them but healed them. He went out of His way to seek the lost, the lowly, and those who have been shunned by their neighbors for various reasons. For Jesus, enduring difficult people was possible because He looked beyond the outward appearances and actions. He saw them for what they truly were: a child of God.

Part of our own sanctification journey is to allow unlovable people into our lives, people we would likely not choose on our own. These people test our tranquility, our patience, and if we’re not careful, our faith. So how do we deal with them?

Paul provides us the framework in Romans 15:1-2,7. When we read this, we are reminded that Christ accepted us just as we are, and even more important, died for us even while we were an enemy to Him (Romans 5:6-8). This acceptance was unconditional, recognizing our imperfections and weaknesses. He loves you just as you are.

If we accept God’s plan for our lives then we should consider that the people that cross our paths are likely to have some higher purpose—either to be a blessing to us or to receive a blessing from us—and quite often it will be both if we see it to fruition.

Determine to be an encourager to everyone you meet. It costs so very little to be kind and supportive. Take the time to let the other person see Christ living in you, regardless of their actions towards you. I am reminded of what the writer of Hebrews said concerning the unknowing possibility that we have crossed paths with one of God’s messengers and therefore should emanate love in every encounter (Hebrews 13:1-3).

We never know where such kindness will lead, because only God can see the potential of that man or woman in our presence. Never underestimate how God can use you to change a person into the kind of character He wants for that individual.

We likely will never know on this side of the cross what our impact has been on those people we have crossed paths with in this life. I have a feeling when we stand before Him one day and give an account of our lives, we may find out then.

May God help you and me to totally love and accept every person He brings into our lives, just as Christ accepts us in all of our faults. May He bring our human responses under His lordship over our lives, day in and day out.